Udayavni Special

Won’t use govt money for Wall of Women: Kerala CM


Team Udayavani, Dec 21, 2018, 7:29 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the LDF government rejected the allegations of fund diversion for the proposed ‘Vanitha Mathil’ (Wall of Women) in the Kerala High Court, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday said no money would be spent from the state exchequer for the programme.

He also dismissed propaganda that the left government was spending Rs 50 crore from state funds, earmarked for women’s welfare programmes, for the initiative scheduled to be held on January 1.

The Wall of Women is against any attempt to push society back to the dark ages from its progressive values, the chief minister said.

“Leaving no room for doubt, it is made clear that the government will not spend any money from the state exchequer for it.

But, we will give all support for the programme. The government stand is that we will not backtrack from the progressive path. It does not mean that the government will meet the expenses of the initiative,” he said at an employees’ programme here.

State Finance minister T M Thomas Isaac said the ‘Wall of Women’ is an “official programme” of the government but not a single penny would be spent from the state exchequer.

However, Opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala Friday lashed out at the government, saying it was “cheating” the people of the state in the name of ‘Wall of Women’ and trying to spend government funds.

“Even though the government is claiming that it won’t use money from the state exchequer, it had submitted an affidavit in the High Court, saying it would use Rs 50 crore from the government fund.

Now, their cheating has been caught red-handed and they are trying to cover up their mistake,” he told reporters here.

Vijayan, earlier this month, had announced “the women’s Wall’ would be formed on January 1 from the northern district of Kasaragod to the southern most district of Thiruvananthapuram “to demonstrate the secular and progressivemindset of the state.”

He had announced the decision after a meeting with over 50 socio-cultural organizations here, convened in the wake of the Sabarimala women entry issue.

The opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP had flayed the left government, saying it would create a ‘communal divide’ among the people and alleged that the government was misusing its machinery and welfare funds for the programme.

While considering petitions opposing the utilization of public funds to organize the programme, the Kerala High Court Thursday had directed the government to inform it of the expenditure incurred to conduct the programme.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Royand A K Jayasankaran Nambiar, also recorded the government’s statement that no flood relief fund would be used for organising the programme.

The CPI(M)-led LDF government had submitted that there was no diversion of money from the flood relief fund for the ‘vanitha mathil’, which, it said, was a totally different programme under the Women and Child Development Department.

“The Vanitha Mathil is to be considered as a campaign or event of the government for empowerment of women and to bridge the gap of gender equality,” the government said.

“An amount of Rs 50 crore is earmarked for various schemes aimed at preventing atrocities against women,” it submitted.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA K C Joseph submitted a breach of privilege notice to Assembly speaker P Sreeramakrishnan against the chief minister for “misleading” the House on the use of government funds for the Wall of Women programme.

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