Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Friday claimed the Centre has denied him permission to attend a tourism meet in China without any valid reason, prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who dubbed the incident as “unfortunate”, to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the tourism minister’s office, the communication regarding denial of permission for the visit to attend the United Nations World Tourism Organisation meet in Chengdu between September 11-16 was received on Thursday.
Surendran, a minister in the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front government, said that the external affairs ministry denied him permission to attend the high-profile tourism meet without citing “any valid reason”.
“We should know the reason behind denying permission for the China trip. The state government will take up the matter with the PMO. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will bring the issue to the notice of the Prime Minister,” he said.
Chief Minister Vijayan termed as “unfortunate and disappointing” the incident.
In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Vijayan said, “It is unfortunate that a state delegation headed by the minister for tourism has been denied the opportunity to participate in an international forum.”
He also asked the prime minister to reconsider the decision of the Union ministry of external affairs.
A similar letter was also written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The objective behind the visit was to learn from international experts about developing the tourism sector in Kerala, Vijayan said.
The theme of the tourism meet -- ‘Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals - Journey to 2030’ -- was relevant and of significant importance as Kerala has been taking several initiatives in this area, he said.
The minister was an invitee to the 22nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
The invitation to the 22nd session of the meet was extended by the Secretary General, UNWTO.
Earlier, Surendran alleged that the “only reason could be the narrow politics played by the Bharatiya Janata Party that resulted in the denial of permission for the trip”.
“As of now, the possibility of attending the meet is nil,” he added.
According to the tourism minister’s office, the communication denying the permission to attend the meeting was received on Thursday.