Recently Kerala faced a situation almost comparable to what we the people of Travancore - now a part of Kerala - faced in the year 1925. Nearly 1000 people died of starvation and diseases caused by the floods. This time, the situation was different in one way. Our government led by Pinarayi Vijayan did a job that the people of Kerala will not forget.The government and the people of Kerala, together overcame the tragedy that was caused by our own illegal deeds or by Nature’s fury. Kudos to Keralites, Pinarayi Vijayan and the people of different castes and communities who stood by the devastation affected people.
But that's a different story of the past.Today we have one which is different, which gives the party,CPM, a bad image.The people of Kerala won't forget easily no matter what Pinarayi's government says like a spin doctor. People will only laugh at it.
The government changed a policy which the Nayanar government, the A K Antony government, the Oommen Chandy government and the Achuthanandan government did not. It was not noticed by the public.It was against the election promise of a clean government which will ensures no hanky-panky in any deal. Suffice it to say the literate and the downtrodden masses are fast turning to the view that the Pinarayi government is only slightly better than the Oommen Chandy government which was scandal scarred.
The issue is granting permission to distillery and brewery companies.How pathetic is Pinarayi's stand on this. He has gone on record that the change in the 1999 order by the government did not merit a cabinet meeting. In short, the decision by Ramachandran, minister for excise, is the law.This turns against the note given by Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose. He had according to a report in Mathrubhumi,said that such a decision to grant permission deserves a cabinet meeting. The issue has become a public debate. The persons who got licenses and jobs deserve public scrutiny.They just have "reputations" as one's who are capable of doing any damn thing.
One is CPM state committee member Krishnan Nair's son, Unnikrishnan who is Kinfra’s general manager.The least said the better about how he attained that post.
How he handled allotment of 10 acres to an IMFL is too recent to narrate .
Another scandal is the government permission given to big shots in brewery companies by the minister of excise. The minister had gone on record that Kerala doesn't need micro-breweries.Now he has given big breweries the government permission.
About the Sri Chakra distillery the additional chief secretary had given a file to the minister indicating that the move of the company was doubtful going by the government's own 1999 order. But the excise minister ignored it. Does it prove that the company was owned by people close to the CPM ? It is a matter to be decided by an enquiry.
The matter has been brought to the Governor, a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, by Ramesh Chennithala leader of the opposition.The Congress is in doldrums.This issue has given Chennithala an opportunity to blast the government for its deeds. The Congress was in deep trouble caused by the Chandy group,Chennithala group and a faction which was playing a neither here nor there game.
The Chief Minister has a lot to answer, given that Manorama and Mathrubhumi have exposed the scam. Unexpected turn it was for the Congress.
This issue will create a mass movement especially in Palghat where the CPM, with masses supporting Veerendra Kumar had agitated against Coca Cola for depleting the groundwater .There a new company has been given permission by the government to start a brewery.
In the liquor business, Kerala should make enough liquor so that it can call itself self-sustaining.That's what Pinarayi had vowed. The newly approved distillery doesn't deliver even one drop of liquor to Keralites.One distillery sells all that it is making to the UK, UAE and Bahrain says a report in Manorama.
The Chief Minister had also said the liquor made in Kerala accounts for 65% of total liquor sold in Kerala. The rest is coming from other Indian states. He has promised to increase the number of Keralites employed in liquor manufacturing.The new Kerala laws do not disapprove of import of liquor from outside.That means the promise of creating new jobs will remain a promise.
( The ideas expressed in the article are of the author. )