Life after Vishu

Malayalis all over the world celebrated Vishu. May God shower prosperity upon one and all!

There was heart-breaking news from Dubai when Chithra lost her little one. “Those whom the Gods love die young.” May god give the parents the strength to bear the loss of their only child.


The Climax of Electioneering

“Never associate with someone whom you cannot be proud of – whether you work for him or he works for you.”

A train of events occurred on the penultimate day of the election campaign – some were dramatic, some were absurd, some were violent, some were amusing. The acts of violence were beautifully timed – the UDF leaders would not be in a position to address public meetings or give statements to the Press after 5 p.m. on 11th April and the media would not be allowed to report the happenings until after 13th April…

Here is a sample. Read on…

1.The Jamat-e-Islami formally announced its support to 124 out of the 140 LDF candidates, thereby bringing its illicit relationship with the CPM out in the open.

2.The JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, a BJP ally, announced that the party was withdrawing its candidate at Malampuzha in favour of VS Achuthanandan. Barely an hour later he announced rather sheepishly that Sushma Swaraj had talked him out of it! The BJP probably had an ulterior motive in giving the seat to the JD(U) in the first place. The JD(U) perhaps had a pre-planned agenda to ditch its own candidate at the last minute. And what was the pay-off? Cash or votes? God Only Knows. In northern Kerala the RSS and the CPM are still at each other’s throats. Was the deal made down South? Who was responsible for the kiss-and-make-up drama that was abruptly withdrawn? Was it designed to send an unmistakeable message to the pro-BJP voters that they should cast their votes in favour of VS???

3. Now the proof of the CPM’s illegitimate dalliance with those it once called ‘anti-national’ and ‘extremist’ is there for every citizen to see. Is it an act of desperation by a dying Party? Or is there more to it, something more sinister….?

4. In Aryanad, Thiruvananthapuram, LDF miscreants attacked Congressmen who were campaigning for former Minister, G Karthikeyan. Four leaders ended up in hospital and two vehicles were destroyed.

5. At Venjaramoodu, on the outskirts of Thiruvanthapuram, the followers of Marxist veteran Koliacode Krishnan Nair, pelted stones and rotten eggs on Sindhu Joy who was campaigning for the UDF candidate. She was injured and is in the ICU at Thiruvanthapuram Medical College with a concussion on her head.

6. At Kalliasseri in Kannur (birthplace of late CM, E K Nayanar) the Leftists attempted to manhandle the Congress candidate Advocate Indira.

7. In the meantime, VS Achuthandanan is going around talking about protecting the chastity of all our women and girls! What about safety, my dear friend?

8. In Poonjar, Kottayam, P C George of the Kerala Congress (M) was pelted with rotten eggs, and his son was manhandled. Who did it? Please don’t ask!

9.At Ponnani, Malappuram the election office of the UDF was attacked and one person was seriously injured.

10.At Udumbanchola, Idukki, a UDF meeting was attacked by CPM activists and four Congress men were injured.

11. Achuthanandan referred to Rahul Gandhi as “Amul Baby.” It comes as no surprise that VS envies Rahul’s youth and good looks. (Most people would.) Someone gave him a Malayalam poem to read, thinking it would be a tit-for-tat reply to Rahul’s reference to Achuthanandan’s age. But VS did not read it properly. In his hands, the poem actually lost its flavour. (Kurangante kayyile poomaala pole…)

12.Advocate P Sreedharan Pillai of the BJP remarked that Achuthandan’s style resembles that of Josef Stalin.

And the show goes on…..

Laptops for the Leftists

The Marxists opposed computers in the sixties and seventies because they feared that their introduction would cause widespread unemployment. And what happened? The IT boom created millions of jobs and brought prosperity to virtually very household. Today our children need not migrate to the Gulf in order to earn a decent livelihood. They can work in their own home State. And of course, the Leftists are carrying laptops! Recently, the LEFT Government distributed laptops to all the 140 MLAs. It took them over 4 decades to realize the worth of computers.

The Left even opposed tractors on similar grounds. Today Kerala has neither tractors nor agriculture. They opposed the entry of self-financing private institutions in the higher education sector. Today Kerala is far behind the other South Indian states in the field of education. People send their children to other States to study medicine, nursing, engineering, hotel management and other courses. Non-resident Keralites send their children to the U.K., U.S.A. and Australia. This is what the Marxists have done for Kerala.

The same people who once made snide remarks against those who travelled in air-conditioned cars and worked in A.C. rooms, are now going around in fancy cars, sleeping in A.C. rooms and travelling by air even from Trivandrum to Kochi. Now, all of a sudden, they are finding helicopters unacceptable. Even in the days of the Ramayana, we had Ravana flying past in his ‘Pushpaka Vimana’. And our Marxist friends in the 21st century are objecting to the use of helicopters in the election campaign. The moment the Marxist Party buys a pair of helicopters the perception of the Red Brigade will change. Just wait and see what they do in 2016!

Is Kerala Moving Backward?

11 out of 12 constituencies in Kollam District had LDF MLAs from 2006 to 2011. Five of them were Ministers. And yet, Kollam District ranked 11th among the 14 districts of Kerala on the basis of per capita income (at current prices). Only 3 districts, namely Kasargod, Wayanad and Malappuram lagged behind Kollam. (Source: Economic Review 2010) It is time to classify Kollam as a backward district. This is the contribution of the LDF Ministers and MLAs in a nutshell. Kollam kandaal illam venda ennu pandokke parayumaayirunnu. Ippol athu parayaan vayya.

Kerala’s Cashew production (000’s MT) declined from 57.60 in 2005-2006 to 36.45 in 2009-2010. The area under cashew cultivation (000’s Ha.) was 80.70 in 2005-2006, whereas in 2009-2010 it was only 48.97. (However, the country as a whole showed marginal increase in production.) There was a time when ‘cashew was king’, but we are allowing this sector to die a natural death. Today, we have virtually stopped growing cashew and the industry is resorting to packaging nuts imported from West Africa. Kollam was once a centre of the thriving cashew industry, but today only a handful of companies in the private sector are surviving. Nobody can deny that the industry has tremendous potential, and yet…

Plantation Crops are either export oriented or import substituting and therefore have great importance. Kerala accounts for 91% of the country’s rubber production, that is, roughly 7.3% of the world’s output. This is the only sector that is flourishing. Kerala’s share in the national production of cardamom was 75%, coffee 22% and tea 5% in 2008-2009. Only 5% of the cardamom is exported today, whereas Malabar was once world renowned for the Spice trade. We are unable to face competition from Guatemala, although our cardamom is of superior quality. Tea grown in Vietnam and elsewhere is available at lower prices. So what is the future of our plantation sector? I would say GOK (God Only Knows).

When Lottery becomes LOOT-ERY

“If you can see only what light reveals and hear only what sound announces, then in truth you do not see nor do you hear.” (Kahlil Gibran)

Who buys lottery tickets? Who consumes illicit liquor? Mostly the poor. Who benefits by the sale of liquor and lottery tickets? The sellers, of course! The Government makes money by way of taxes, government officials by way of bribes, and businessmen and middlemen in different ways. The poor consumers and their dependents end up as losers.

So what should the Government do? Ban lotteries and liquor altogether or try and regulate the trade? Obviously, only the latter is feasible.

Smoking, consumption of alcohol, drug abuse, gambling and lotteries are different forms of addiction. The degree of addiction varies according to the nature of the activity and the involvement of the individual. Instead of spending crores of rupees on the eve of the elections to advertise its achievements, the Government could have launched an awareness campaign and made some attempt to let the people know the truth about lotteries. Fake lotteries are like fake currency notes – none of us can tell the difference. It is not that there are no winners, but for every winner there are thousands and thousands of losers.

It has been said that the Bhutan lottery alone (please note that this is not another State lottery but that of another country) sold tickets worth Rs.40 crores daily for 30 months during the LDF rule – a mind boggling figure of 36,000 crores. Megha Distributors (owned by Santiago Martin) claimed to be the sole agent, but the Government of Bhutan stated otherwise.

The CM himself estimated the lottery industry’s earnings at 80,000 crores. If this is the amount that the poor misguided people of Kerala had lost by purchasing lottery tickets during the LDF rule, how much was won by the winners (if any), how much went to the 2.5 lakh lottery ticket sellers who depend on this industry for their livelihood, how much came into the coffers of the Government, and how much went into the hands of Santiago Martin and other kingpins is anybody’s guess. As the LDF Government has been dilly-dallying instead of ordering an investigation, the truth still remains under wraps.

Online lottery is another grey area. The daughter in law of the CM was reported to be the joint owner of an online lottery company. Does that sound fishy? Well, what can an ordinary person like me say?

How Megha sold Bhutan lottery tickets, asks Chandy (Oct.2010)

Case to be filed against Santiago Martin & John Kennedy’ (Nov.2010)

Why You Should Vote

There are many reasons for voting. But the main reason is: If you don’t turn up to vote, someone else will cast your vote! The CPM cadres are well trained in this art.

I ask every voter, “Do you want to cast your vote yourself or do you want someone else to do it for you?” Though much has been done to prevent bogus voting, we don’t have an all-clear signal as yet. Until then, my dear friends, don’t allow anti- social elements to hijack the system. Get up in the morning and make your way to the polling booth. Kerala is awaiting your choice with bated breath. Don’t wait until the evening – it may be too late!

Voting may be positive or negative. You can vote for some individual or group you like or you can vote against those you dislike. If you don’t like any of the political parties or even any of the candidates, you can choose the ‘lesser evil’, or at least vote against the person or group you hate the most.

But vote you must. It is your right as a citizen. It is also your duty as a stakeholder in the world’s largest democracy of 1.2 billion people.

The Truth About Water and Electricity

We have 44 rivers and abundant rains but all over the State the common people suffer from shortage of drinking water and scarcity of power. The Kerala Water Authority reports that “the estimated distribution loss of water produced is 25%.” (Economic Review 2010). Much of the rain water just disappears or flows into the sea, so this loss is never estimated. The water loss due to pollution of rivers and lakes is not calculated either.

About the transmission loss of electricity, the less said the better. (19.4% in 2010) And there is theft too. Even Baba Ramdev was caught stealing electricity! Kaatile thadi thevarude aana….. As per the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2007, the definition of theft includes the use of tampered meters and utilization of power for unauthorized purposes, and the offence is cognizable and non-bailable. How did Baba Ramdev get away? Ask the CM who is walking around with a pair of handcuffs! If Ramdev was contesting the election on a Congress ticket, he would have been behind bars now.

“Obviously power crisis is the Prime Obstacle to start new initiatives in the industrial field.” (Page 153, Economic Review 2010). As per the 17th Power Survey, there is an additional generation requirement of about 1000 MW for the State during the next 5 years. The State showed negative power surplus in 2009-10. The gap between requirement and availability was no less than 933.54 million units.

To sustain the present level of industrial production and domestic consumption we need an additional 1000 MW. If we have to start new ventures and increase production on all fronts how much electricity do we need? And where is it going to come from?