The CPM-led Left Democratic Front Government in Kerala is at the receiving end after Kerala High Court on Friday initiated suo motu a case in connection with the suicide of expat industrialist Sajan Parayil who was denied permit for a convention centre he built at Anthoor in Kannur. There is growing criticism that the government claim on 'ease of doing business' was hollow and instead, it is creating an unfavourable climate for industry.
The attempt by the CPM to shield the Anthoor municipal leadership, led by the wife of a CPM central committee member, and instead find four scapegoats in the form of municipal staff who have been suspended, received a jolt when the party Taliparamba area committee on Friday demanded stern action against municipal chairperson PK Shyamala.
Sajan, a Nigeria-returned expat, had built a convention centre spending Rs 15 crore at Bakkalam in Anthoor municipality. But municipal officials denied him or rather indefinitely delayed the building permit, forcing him to take the extreme step early this week.
A CPM sympathiser, Sajan was made to run after the municipal authorities who never ever gave him a reason for denying him the permit. At one stage, he contacted the CPM district leadership and they tried to take up the matter with Shayamala. That, according to Sajan's widow, was reason for Shayamala to get agitated and she allegedly told him that she would like to know how he would get the permit.
Sajan is also said to have complained to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. But no action was ever taken and a life was lost.
Suddenly, it was high drama and officials were summoned by Local Self Government Minister AC Moideen and four staff were suspended. But even before the minister announced the suspension, CPM leader MV Jayarajan announced in Kannur that three officials, including the municipal secretary, had been suspended. But, as if to make it official, the Minister added one more. Adding insult to injury, the Minister said this was a one-off case and never saw anything against comrade Shayamala.
It is a fact that local body officials do not act on their own and take word from the political bosses. The Taliparamba area committee stand today confirms the statement of Sajan's widow. The meeting said the haughty behaviour of the chairperson, her refusal to accommodate the views of other councillors and even failure to put to proper use of funds needed to be looked into.
Sajan's Parthas Builders had submitted an application to the municipality. With the High Court having registered the case, it will look into what made the municipality deny permit and whether there was any political interference in the matter.
The Chief Minister's claim of helping NRIs set up business and having in place a system has been proved false through Sajan's suicide. It remains a fact that a section of the 'powerful' NRIs get what they want - land, permits and all sorts of clearances- from the Government but not the ordinary NRI whose dreams of spending his hard-earned money on something fruitful does not bear fruit.
It is worthwhile suggestion that this Government takes a leaf from the 'success' of the sons of leaders rather than invite the poor NRIs to invest in India. Businessmen here can be given 'study classes' about the acumen of these 'rising' sons who go mostly to the Gulf and in no time grow rich and have enough money to squander.