Saturday, October 07, 2006

If they don't have water, give them coke!

(my comment to a blog on a the issue of kerala shutting down coke plant)

the pesticide issue was only a pretext to give the marching orders to coke unit. the present kerala CM had been fighting to have this unit shut .
dont get me wrong- am not an ardent leftist in my views- but i do have me reservations about the development model adopted by india. i know for sure that a lot of small players have gone under with the ruthless liberalisation which does not factor in their predicament. go ahead and liberalise, privatise, open up - our economy needs that no doubt. but the government must take care of the fall out of its policies. there should be systems and alternative measures in place which will protect the small players, ensure them the same dignified life that they enjoyed with the occupation that sustained them. it's as simple as that. the country cannot fill its coffers driving the small players up the wall in search of the noose to end their misery! what sort of development is that? let us not talk so dismissively of the depletion of ground water at plachimada. it is a huge human issue which cannot be wished or willed away , just as we canot brush aside the fall out of our present mode of development which is rationalised as collateral damage!!
plachimada ground water problem is not something that can wait forever while arm chair critics debate over the veracity of the media reports about it. for goodness sake it is drinking water against coke. the government should not behave like the coporate idealogues with a if-they-do-not-have-water-give-them-coke type of attitude.
we should not forget history. remember, how ceaucescu of rumania filled the coffers with foreign exchange by exporting even the staple food - bread. he was executed by a hungry nation on xmas day.
how can we forget that hunger and thirst and taking away the livelihood of people can destabilise a country?


  1. Your views are so balanced and you speak for the common man. Loved this and the earlier article!

  2. Ceausescu was a megalomaniac among other things. I lived in Romania for three years and people there still long for those days. It seems that one powerful, corrupt dictator has been replaced by a handful of powerless, corrupt politicians. People are very cynical and pessimistic of life in general in Romania. I can't help but agree, because many industries are nationalized and run by shady businesssmen in cahoots with corrupt politicians. The sad thing that many governments in India don't realize is that it isn't the lack of privatization that is the singular cause of lack of investment in a state. It is the incredibly complicated bureaucratic machinery that hamper local entrepreneurial instincts.

    Not sure if you have heard of these entrepreneurship clubs developing in some colleges in India. I am a Malayalee investor based in the U.S. and it is very heartening to me to see this trend because I finally feel there is some hope and people are finally seeing the light.

    The remarkable thing that is shared by all economically stagnant countries is the level of freedom enjoyed by its citizens. And this may vary between diffent regions in the same country. Take for example, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Setting up a business venture in Tamil Nadu and running it is relatively easy. No hartals, not as much militant unionism and at least some proactive government help. Forget about that in Kerala. So, whereas Kerala has gone from being the 4th richest state in the 70s to being the 7th in 90s, Tamil Nadu has actually advanced in its rankings. Of course, most of this is obvious. But, the majority suffer in silence.

    What I am really concerned about is the fledgling BPO/IT industry developing in the Cochin SEZ and Trivandrum. Sooner or later, they are going to attract the attention of the leftists who are going to insist on unionization and the level of militism that has been encountered before. I hope that the graduates these companies hire are not just educated but wise as well to realize that any sort of progress can only come from discussions and talks and not through playing with the unions.

  3. yes, i have heard of the entrepeunership club and have corresponded with them too for my college. i am away from the college scene temporarily , and so do not know how it is faring.

    your axiety about the BPO/IT industry is shared by a lot of malayalees - the possibility is very much there except that the bpo industry is manned by a floating population which looks at the industry only as a launching pad. it is something that keeps the present malayalee youth out of mischief(getting into politics) till something better turns up- so the attrition level in this induatry is high but fresh hands are ever available, with the astronomical figures of graduates coming out of the university every the employees of this sector are not likely to show interest in unionisation.

    as a malayalee investor, you can do something to improve the work culture in kerala. use some arm twisting tactics before u invest - nri malayalees should get commitment from the government(the present govt. would be ideal - they need to realise that the state is/has been pulling on with the NRI funds)on unioin behaviour, before u invest. the availability of a certain work culture should be made a precondition for investing. the rights of the worker should be respected but insist on some way of quantifying their work. some way of ensuring output. keralites are excellent workers - outside kerala. importing that work culture into the state should be made a condition for investing.


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