No protest against NRI’s mall: Kerala CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram, June 3 (IANS) The Kerala CPI-M has said its workers would not protest against a UAE-based businessman’s mall in Kochi and asked officials to ensure that all lease arrangements of the investor with the Cochin Port Trust were transparent.

Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here Sunday: “We want to make it clear that we are not going to stage a protest in front of the Lulu Mall. The responsible authorities have to look if things are in order.”

Businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali, who invested Rs.1,600 crore, opened his Lulu Shopping Mall project in Kochi in March this year. He has also taken on lease 10.59 hectares land from the Cochin Port Trust for building a convention centre.

Vijayan said: “The CPI-M is not against Ali at all. In fact, we want him to invest in more and more projects in the state.”

His remarks came in the backdrop of allegations of wrongdoing in the leases for land given to Ali for his proposed Cochin Port Trust project.

Last month, the party’s Ernakulam district committee also frowned over the way the leases were granted to Ali.

Pained by the allegations, Ali announced he was withdrawing from the port trust convention centre project and asked the authorities to return Rs.72 crore deposited as lease money for the land in 2010.

Vijayan said: “The CPI-M has never played spoil sport to any major project and we will never oppose Ali.”

“What the Ernakulam district committee said was that no rules of the land should be violated. Ali got the land through a tender and he has not done any wrong,” said Vijayan.

He said the issue of the alleged wrongdoings was first raised by an official of the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation.

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