Corporate Social Negligence!

Kerala – An Ecological and Political disaster….

Posted in Coco-Cola, Day, Globalisation, India, Kerala, Kozhikkode, politics by clash on August 22, 2007

Last weekend I was in Kerala to attend a marriage. I traveled from Kozhikkode to Thrissur by road. The incessant rains that belted across Kerala have managed to make the roads in to a stretch of potholes. The sun is back and water in drying up; I hope this should give a respite from all the epidemics that were grabbing headlines. But, while I was traveling I noticed heaps of waste dumped on the roadside and the stink was very bad. In Kerala, which has a good reputation for the social indices, these scenes were unthinkable couple of years back. There is a constant abuse of nature all across kerala.

Space is dwindling in this part of India, on every corner there is a new concrete building coming up; lot of greenery is being sacrificed to accommodate this Real estate boom that is happening in Kerala. Life style has definitely changed, and adding to these woes, the number of vehicles plying all across kerala has shot up within a short time span. Eating habits of people are also changing; this can be seen in my city where many fried chicken outlets have sprung up. Kerala is predominantly a non-vegetarian society, so this change was inevitable but the waste generated from this conspicuous consumption of meat is disposed without any kind of “civic sense” that should be prevailing. During my short travel I encountered heaps of waste, time and again with bad stench emanating from them. Many of them were waste matter of all those chicken which people gobbled, it littered near the road with dry feathers flying all across. They are being dumped in to rivers and streams and inevitably clogging them with a putrefying stench.

Government authorities who should be talking affirmative actions to clear up this mess for sure are acting with utter laxity. There are no severe measures except for the ban of plastic cups, covers and so on. This will not suffice to save kerala from escaping an ecological disaster if serious decisions are not taken.

With a high rate of tourist inflow the backwaters of Kerala were one of the earliest victims of this onslaught on nature. Studies prove that, around 300 house boats ply in a single backwater in one of the southern district in kerala. This has been severely taxing as all the effluents from these boats have been hampering the water and polluting it. Tourism is a money minting sector but this should not be at the cost of nature.

There was so much of brouhaha when the government started reclaiming the encroached land in Munnar. Investigations revealed that acres of forest land have been encroached in Munnar. The effort of the government lasted barely a month; the faction of CPIM which is cozying up with the new rich and influential, wanted to remove the best of the officers appointed by the chief minister. With their strength in the state committee this section of the “peoples party” torpedoed this novel attempt by the lonesome chief minister Mr. V.S. Acthuthandan who seems to waging a war all alone against these factions which is more of a business unit than a party machinery.

The organizational problem of CPIM in kerala has been attributed to a media syndicate which is working against them with the help of CIA. Though the stark reality is that CPIM is on a low with allegations after allegations thrown upon them by the media which they are finding difficult to defend. With Pinarayi Vijayan, who holds the dubious distinction of being the first communist leader India with a CBI charge sheet, at the helm, the party looks more of a business unit trying to generate profits and being a middle man for all those dubious elements in the society.

Education and health care was the forte of kerala. Though many will claim that a government structure is always a failure, Kerala had proved it wrong with its excellent educational system and health care system supported by the government. The Congress government which ruled kerala during the last term allowed the entry of private players in to the arena of education. Minorities which includes Christians and Muslims holds a significant role in the electoral politics of kerala, they have always held the Ministry of Education, though this time it is an exception with Mr. M.A Baby, an intellectual honcho, being the education minister. This has not helped the situation; he is the worst ever education minister Kerala has seen. The student wing of CPIM, the SFI which has involved valiant violent struggles against the privatization of education has shut their mouth and has become a laughing stock with their senior members in the party cozying up with these minority institutions and appearing in the court with flimsy drafts which are getting constantly snubbed by the judiciary. The irony is that the next door neighbor in Tamil Nadu has brought out a law in which the government will be holding 60% of seats in the professional education institutes and if any organisation fails to comply this, they will even loose their registration. In kerala the “people’s” party has merely turned out to be a loan facilitator for the students who wants to join these private colleges with their enormous fees structure. This is an utter shame for kerala, which has always had excellent quality of education where every child once was educated to a minimum till 9th standard. The question of merit on which the whole country is rallying for stands for a test when we take these private institutions in to consideration, which definitely are galaxies behind in the teaching prowess and facilities.

The medical colleges were not spick-and-span clean as the super-speciality hospitals of today, but they were definitely a respite for the less privileged in the society offering good medical care. With the onslaught of private players, medical expenses have shot up astronomically. Out of the context, you may say, but Sainath the reputed journalist and Magasay award winner in his series of articles about farmer suicides point out that medical expense was one of the main factors in debt. This very well can explain the effect of privatized medicine. In the west except America, they treat medical care to be a part of the fundamental rights.

This kerala government which was touted to deliver the best has completely deceived the public who elected them, including me. There has been infighting in this government and it has been essentially reduced to an ego-clash between the two big names in the party. But, now after months in to governance it is very clear that, it is not anymore an ego clash but more of an ideological difference. With the inception of Kariali TV , one section of party has reduced themselves to be something of a business unit. They have courted all dubious elements in kerala; have become partners in bed to gather more money to make the channel a success. Now, they have gone to that extent that they are claiming the TV channel is separate business entity and has no connection with CPIM. But the very truth is Cochin office of the print mouth piece (Deshabhimani) has been loaned out to push cash for the channel. This inevitably points out that the channel very well belongs to the party and their cadres who were doled out the shares.

New papers are bringing out scandals on an everyday basis. There is Pharis aboobacker a dubious element from which CPIM has been taking money for all their activities – TV, Channel, and Soccer Tournament, Cuban Solidarity Movement and so on. No one knows what his relationship is with Pinarayi Vijayan and ilk. Then there is Santiago martin, the lottery mafia leader who gifted 2 crores for the party’s print mouth piece Deshabhimani. This spurious lottery business was banned in kerala after a thorough investigation done by the government authorities. The chief minister Mr. V.S Achuthandan had received praises from the public for this action as for his Munnar demolition drive. But he is a loner; he gets bullied in the state committee as numbers are with the other faction. They have grabbed all the CPIM local bodies by involving in an organizational prostitution. Members of the local committees are lured to them by offering small job opportunities in the local co-operative banks and other ventures which are in the control of the party. By appeasing them they make them shut their mouths about the corruption involved within these local bodies like Panchayaths and Villages.

Party leaders have started doling out utterly derisive comments disgracing the great leaders which party once had. Comments from E.P Jayarajan; like “times have changed, this is not the era of long beards, black tea and daal vada’s, you cannot expect the party to go back to that age” this is one of those derisive comments which is being belted out by the leaders. With these kinds of comments they are indirectly making a statement to the cadres, we will have dubious relationship, more and more corruption will be there in party, cadres will be real estate brokers involving in shady deals, which is the order of the time. In this process E.P Jayarajan became a bastard by ridiculing all those great leaders who gave their life for party. He has turned party as a platform in for conducting his spurious activities. It was not surprise when he was removed from the management of party mouth piece Dehsbhimani.

The occasional visit to kerala has always been nice, but not this time as the stench of the “chicken waste” was omnipresent and the stench of a rotten communist party added to it. With some time at home, I visited my old play ground which was a privately owned strip of land about 1 acre. This piece of land has been cut in to pieces and has been sold; it was respite for many children who involved in different kind of sports. A part of my life was lived on that strip too. I realized there is sever shortage of play grounds in kerala. With almost all the middle class families in kerala buying a computer; I presume kids prefer sitting in front of that than playing cricket or football in small alleys around their houses. I suppose, SFI in kerala should at least resort to movement in reclaiming “play grounds” , they have proved themselves to be a failure in reclaiming the education sector, at least they can help the children to have some space to play. Kerala with its density of population and spurting nuclear families is heading towards a space crunch which will inevitably result in a ecological disaster and eventually a human disaster.

3 Responses

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  1. xxx said, on November 23, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    this is a bull shit report

  2. clash said, on June 5, 2008 at 9:17 am

    is it so?

  3. Sarah said, on September 30, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I have been to Kerala and spent much time in southern India. You are very right when you say that the pollution and land use is a huge problem there. My [American] friends and I couldn’t figure out why a place as beautiful as Kerala was allowing so much development and land abuse. Even so, Kerala is still a paradise compared to the rest of South India.
    Thank you for explaining about the government there. We were under the impression that is was communist state and the socialism was the reason for such high education and health care.
    Very interesting.

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