Thursday, June 04, 2015

Palmolein and GAIL pipe line in Kerala.. Chief Secretary opens up.. ..

Over the past few days some genuine and painful observations were made by the Kerala state Chief Secretary Shri Jiji Thomson. He opined that personal wishes, opinions of bureaucrats have no say in a democracy. On third of June 2015 at a Press meet in Trivandrum he repeated the same statements as a passing mention of a civil servant pained at the developments in a case that had been haunting him for the past twenty five years.

He was at pains to explain how he has been suffering for the past 25 years, in spite of registering dissent on the Palmolein deal of 1992, however fair it was, as no global tenders were invited and was forced to go as per the cabinet decision. His statements appear to have been misunderstood. The public should realise that these are the silent inner cries of a sincere and senior officer which was going unheard.

Let Kerala state not haunt its sincere senior bureaucrats..
Photo : Manorama.
The situation in 1991 was like this, as per my understanding - A limited quota of palmoil was being offered during 1991-92 by the Malaysian company and Indian states were vying with each other to get a share of this to keep the oil prices in their states low. Kerala under the CM ship of K Karunakaran and Jiji Thomson IAS as MD of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation purchased the oil at $405/quintal while West Bengal purchased it at $ 407/quintal. Karnataka could not even get any palmoil as the quota offered by the Malaysian company had been taken by all the proactive states who were working overtime to prevent an edible oil shortage in their respective states and prevent an oil price increase.

By his statement of yesterday, one thing is made clear. The Chief Secretary has not tried to influence the court nor stall the court proceedings. If the fact that the palmolein purchase was profitable to the government as per the cabinet decision taken at that time and claimed by the Congress party is true, then why to unnecessarily penalise a senior officer for the past 25 years ?

If you leave him free to carry out his duties, he can work wonders, as has been shown in the National Games of 1987, the Common Wealth Games of 2010 and lot of other activities he has initiated through this link. The recent evictions of all illegal occupants from government land and cleaning encroachments on the drainage in East Fort Trivandrum Kerala, which was causing great flooding in East Fort area at a small rain too, followed up now throughout the state by Project Anantha are examples of how sincerely this officer wants to improve his home town of Trivandrum and the state.

His silence all these years in the palmolein deal has been misconstrued. Finally nearing the end of his career, CS must have thought it apt to open his mind on the issue now..

"Those who don't understand your silence, will never understand your words" - Anonymous
CS' silence and suffering can only be understood at a higher level of intelligence. It is not one of running away from responsibilities as can be understood from the above quote.

Opposition Leader in Kerala V S Achuthanandan has nothing to say of how the Left front govt in West Bengal purchased Palmolein from the same Malaysian company in 1991 at $407 per quintal when Kerala purchased it competitively at just $405  per quintal. It is a fact that Jiji Thomson did make a couple of visits to Malaysia to secure the deal as a large quantity of oil was bought by Kerala. Does Achuthananadan mean to say that buying at low prices is corruption in Kerala and buying at higher prices in West Bengal is no corruption at all and very transparent ? We should look under what circumstances the oil was purchased by the then CM, Karunakaran, it was to prevent an edible oil shortage in Kerala at that time.

Does not the leader of Opposition owe an explanation to the people of Kerala as to how long he is planning to fool the people of the state and why he is pursuing this case tooth and nail against Chief Secretary, when Achuthanandan's bete noir and former CM, Karunakaran is no more. Though the court had exonerated CS of any wrong doing stating that CS had only obeyed cabinet decision, why should Achuthanandan pursue the case against a senior sincere officer ? We have to believe that the cabinet at that time in 1991-92 took a right decision which would have benefited the people of Kerala at that time and helped hold price rise and inflation.

And the sad part is that after all these twenty five years, not a real chargesheet has been filed in this case, though the Left Front in Kerala had been in power for more than ten years since the case came out in 1998. The incident happened in 1991-92 time period. The simple strategy of the Left is to prolong the trial for the senior officers by attacking from behind the smoke screen and take political mileage from this "unresolved" case as long as possible by fooling the gullible public ! By raising the point that he had expressed dissent and noted it on the file, the CS has invited the wrath of the ruling party too. 

The moment a Malayali goes out of his state to other parts of India and the world in search of a job and a living, he/she becomes very intelligent, hard working, enthusiastic, sincere and would go out of the way to prove his/her sincerity, hardwork and intellect, while inside the state he behaves just the opposite (not a generalisation ..). Strange are the ways of "intelligent" people in Kerala.

At least let us hope the state tries to understand the sincerity of this able and senior officer and his wish to take the state forward by developing it. One thing I can vouch for is the CS believes very much in the supreme being taking care of all of us, the God. A person who is faultless in God's presence, has to fear nobody in this material and chaotic world. As long as one is in this world, do everything within our reach to help our fellow human beings and society.

The Gas Authority (GAIL) pipeline from Mangalore and Coimbatore to Kochi is another blessing for the people of Kerala. It is high time that the government and authorities educate the public on the benefits it can bring to the state in terms of development, organisation growth and employment and in turn encourage the public to give land for the same for its smooth completion.

MIT showing its willingness to open two Fabrication Labs in Kochi and Trivandrum is a real feather in the cap of this govt if it materialises and Kerala will be the first state in the country to do that.The CS is very interested in taking up novel projects not attempted by anyone and offering greatest challenges.

Another project begging for attention from the politicians, executive and the public in Kerala is the Vizhinjam port. With TN CM Jayalalitha already having called for a high level meeting on how the Colachel port in Kanyakumari district could be developed for the benefit of Tamil Nadu, is a direct competitor to the port of Vizhinjam as business is sure to get diverted. 

At least on these project let the people. decision makers and police remain together and see that with out much delay, blameshifting and corruption, the projects are executed and innocents are spared witch-hunting ..

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