DEGENERATION OF THE REDS IN KERALA … Ex-NRI’s saga to get civic nod for his venture .. and then his SUICIDE


UPDATE: SATURDAY: The CPIM is reported to have asked Andur municipal chairperson PK Shyamala to resign her post, following embarrassment caused to the party by her actions. EI-NN


KOCHI: A new instance of the degeneration of the communist movement in Kerala has come to the fore after the suicide of an ex-NRI entrepreneur, who ran from pillar to post for clearances before start of a new convention centre he built in Kannur. The high-handedness as also bribe-taking by civic officials and politicians, who together run the local administrations, is hurting the investment and business climate in the state for long years. 

The Kerala High Court intervened Friday, on its own, into the complaints of high-handedness and harassment against the now deceased ex-NRi, Sajjan. He was denied clearances by the Andur municipality for a multi-crore Partha convention centre he erected in Nelliyodu, leading to his suicide. Clearly, politics got intertwined with the denial of permissions to Sajjan, as per reports.

The high court filed a case against Kannur municipal secretary, district town planner and local self-government secretary, even though the alleged main conspirator was a local woman politician. Elected representatives of the CPIM are running the municipality.

Husband’s wife …SHYAMALA
At the centre of the row is the Anthur municipal chairperson PK Shyamala, who reportedly conspired with civic officials to put Sajjan through serious harassment and denial of certificates for the already built convention centre. He visited the civic office nearly 30 times to get the completion/occupation certificates, but these were repeatedly denied, and he committed suicide.

Shyamala “took out her personal grudge against Sajan” as she allegedly did not like him directly working through former CPIM district secretary P Jayarajan, a minister and other senior  CPIM leaders to get the initial clearances for the project, reports said.

The final-stage clearance and occupancy certificates were denied to the Rs 15crore huge convention centre on the flimsy grounds like its exterior had encroached into a negligible, less than a cent public space in the town area. Even this is suspected to be a wrong and malicious finding. Without obtaining these certificates, Sajjan could not open the centre and earn daily rent. He had taken huge loans for the project, which required repayment in monthly installments. Failure to start the centre meant difficulty to repay the loan. Bank interests would multiply in a jiffy. 

Such muscle-flexing by civic officials and politicians lording over these establishments are common across the state, also with a view to extorting huge sums as bribes for the certificates. Whether bribe was a motive in this case is not clear, though. Reports so far spoke of vendetta on the part of the municipal chairperson and delaying tactics by the officials too for whatever reasons.

The issue brought forth the groupism in the CPIM in the district. Shyamala is wife of CPIM leader MV Govindan. She reportedly threatened Sajjan with denial of permission as he used his influence with senior party leaders at the district level to get the project going.

When the matter of Sajjan’s suicide came up before the state assembly two days ago, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, as usual, that if anyone was guilty, suitable action would be taken. Following this, some civic officials were suspended, in an attempt to put the blame them alone. No action has been taken against Shyamala. The CM and other party leaders are silent about the rot that has afflicted the party at multiple levels in recent years, culminating in such situations.

A year ago, another ex-NRI from Kollam district committed suicide after the local CPI leaders demanded huge bribe from him for the start of a welding unit he set up in what allegedly was a converted paddyfield. The CPI is handling the Revenue department, and this kind of extortion by CPI men is also very common across districts, towns and villages.

Kerala’s industrial climate is seriously hampered by high-handedness and trade union excesses at the behest of the two communist parties. Officials at panchayat, village and municipality offices are greedy and would not give clearances without payment of huge bribes. So do several politicians, including the Congress leaders too. 

There are accusations chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan runs the government more as a party leader than as the Chief Minister. This means giving a long rope to, or going easy on, errant partymen and the officials who side with such politicians. 

Kannur is the centre-piece of the Communist movement in the state, and it ws there, in Thalassery, that the Communist party was born in December 1939. Most of the political violence involving the CPIM takes place in this district, and it is there that villages are turned into party gramams, where party dictates terms for social life too. Top leaders of the CPIM now, including chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan are all from the district, because of their aggressive edge in the party. 

CPI, by contrast, is more of a party without followers, and cohabits with the CPIM in elections and governments. –EI=NN 


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