The suicide of a 65-year-old Gulf returnee, whose efforts to start an enterprise failed allegedly due to interference of CPI’s youth wing, rocked the state assembly on Monday with Congress-led UDF staging a walkout. CPI is the second largest partner in the CPI(M) led LDF government.
Opposition UDF members led by Ramesh Chennithala trooped out of the house though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it clear that government would not tolerate such types of interference and that three persons had been arrested in connection with the suicide of P Sughathan in Punaloor.
Chennithala alleged that local All India Youth Federation leaders disrupted construction of the man’s automobile workshop, erected four AIYF flags there and allegedly demanded bribes to allow work to go on, leading to Sughathan hanging himself in a temporary shed at the place on February 22.
Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar, a CPI member in the state cabinet, however, denied Chennithala’s charge that local AIYF leaders had demanded bribes. Replying to the notice for the adjournment motion on the matter, moved by Adoor Prakash (Cong), Vijayan said the government was committed to extend full support and co-operation to NRKs to start businesses in the state.
However, certain ‘unhealthy practices’ existed in the state, creating problems for starting an enterprise, he said. One such was to put up party flags in the proposed site by public workers, he said, adding government wanted to put an end to these practices. ‘No one approves these kind of things’, he said.
Another practice was the demand by local workers union to the entrepreneur that a minimum number of workers to be employed should be those suggested by them. “These kind of things have to be stopped,” Vijayan said. The Chief Minister also flayed the system of ‘Nookukooli’ in the state, under which wages are paid to trade union activists for allowing investors and builders to unload belongings and material using machines or their own labor.
Vijayan said the government planned to call a meeting of various trade unions to discuss these issues. “If these things are not resolved, there is no point in coming out with a policy of Ease of Doing Business’, he said. Vijayan termed as very unfortunate the suicide of the NRK and said the reasons that led to his death would be probed.