Centre bars Kerala minister from going to China

The Centre on Friday denied permission to Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran for attending the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference to be held in China from September 11 to 16, evoking a protest from the LDF government in the state.

The external affairs ministry denied Surendran political clearance which is required for attending such international events. It is not clear why the MEA denied the permission. The denial comes in the wake of the 73day stand-off between India and China on Doklam.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to PM Narendra Modi on Friday night, seeking to review the MEA’s decision.”The objective behind undertaking the visit was to learn from international experience about developing the tourism sector in Kerala. It is unfortunate that the state’s delegation was denied opportunity to participate in an international forum,” Vijayan wrote in the letter.

Attacking the Centre, Surendran told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, “The denial of permission by the ex ternal affairs minister for my participation in the important event has clearly exposed the narrow-mindedness of the BJP government.”

The UNWTO’s 22nd session of the general assembly is scheduled to be held in Chengdu and the state government had permitted principal tourism secretary V Venu and Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studi es director Rajashree Ajith to participate in the event as officials from the state. However, they would not be travelling to China following the denial of permission to Surendran, sources said.