Master strategist Achuthanandan saves his position once again Sunday, Oct 14 2012 

Achuthanandan proves himself to be a master of tactics; saves his position once again

V. S. Achuthanandan

CPI (M) leader V. S. Achuthanandan

Though a strategic move, Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan has saved his position as Leader of the Opposition once again. However, for a second time, the party has censured him.

The State unit had been seeking disciplinary action against the Opposition Leader for openly supporting the agitation against Kudankulam nuclear plant. This would even have led to his eventual removal from the position of the Leader of the Opposition.

In a pre-emptive move, Mr. Achuthanandan asked the Central leadership of the party to change party line on Kudankulam. Though the politburo rejected his demand noting that the party line was adopted at the Party Congress, the demand for action against the Opposition Leader got dented though the ensuring discussion in the polit bureau and the Central Committee. There was some support among leaders from other States to Mr. Achuthanandan’s demand that the party should support the agitation against Kudunkulam plant. Moreover, the dichotomy between the party’s stand on Kudankulam and the Jaitapur plant came to the fore though the Central Committee resolution offered some explanation for that.  The Committee also called for an independent safety review of Kudankulam nuclear plant and condemned repression of people agitating against its commissioning. “Necessary safety measures must be put in place before the reactors are commissioned.”  It said.

However, Mr. Achuthanandan proved that he can still take on the State leadership of the party. He had gone to express his support for those agitating against the plant in Tamil Nadu, defying the official leadership of the party in Kerala and general secretary Prakash Karat. Mr. Achuthanandan, who is credited with participation in the Punnapra Vayalar uprising, had just returned when stopped by Tamil Nadu police at the border. He knew that if he had gone into Tamil Nadu and got arrested, he would find none of his party leaders in Kanyakumari district would be there in his support.

The following is the full text of the Central Committee resolution:

Resolution on Comrade V. S. Achuthanandan’s Stand on Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

The Central Committee reiterates the approach of the Party on the use of nuclear power for civilian purposes. The Political Resolution adopted by the 20th Congress of the Party has opposed the setting up of nuclear parks with imported nuclear reactors which are a consequence of the Indo-US nuclear deal. These are not viable on technical and economic grounds and also from the point of view of safety.

In the case of the Kudankulam reactors, the resolution has made an exception as the agreements for these reactors were signed two decades before the Indo-US nuclear deal, at a time when the US and other western countries had imposed sanctions on India. Since then, two reactors from Russia have already been constructed at considerable cost and they are at the final stage before commissioning. However, the resolution has stressed that given the local people’s apprehensions about their safety and livelihood after the Fukushima accident in Japan, these concerns should be met. There should be an independent safety audit and necessary safety measures must be put in place before the reactors are commissioned.

Such an independent safety review has not been conducted. In the meantime, the people protesting at Kudankulam have been subjected to police repression and a large number of cases have been foisted against them. The Party has condemned the repression and demanded that the cases of sedition and other charges be withdrawn.

Com. V.S. Achuthanandan has taken a position contrary to this stand. He has also criticized the Party’s position on Kudankulam as explained by the General Secretary. The Central Committee rejects his views. It censures him for his refusal to abide by the stand which was worked out at the Party Congress. The Central Committee directs Com. V.S. Achuthanandan to adopt the stand taken by the Party.

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Is God’s Own Country the land of Ginea pigs? Friday, Aug 17 2012 

IndiaVision television channel has reported on large scale clinical trials of drug trials in Kerala. http://www.indiavisiontv.com/2012/08/16/101958.html

It claims that about 100 people have died during drug trials. This and other allegations are not well corroborated.  Given the number of trials that have taken place in the State, this is, however, not an improbable figure though many of them may have died during the trial due to other causes. But were they well investigated?

Given the number of trials being done in a few of the institutions, it is clear that sufficient attention is not being paid to obtaining informed consent of the patients and proper monitoring of their health and side effects.

The report raises several questions: Is it ethical to use free medical camps as a recruiting ground for clinical trials?

It is seen that old and unhealthy patients have been used for testing new drugs. Though such patients can be subjected to studies on efficacy of approved drugs, is it ethical to try new drugs on them?

It appears that Trivandrum had at least two institutions that were exclusively engaged in drug trials. Is it right for institutions without facilities for emergency care to undertake such tests?

It is reported that a hospital used to obtain consent for testing medicines after patients have been administered with anesthetics and such medicines are injected when they are unconscious. If true, this calls for a criminal investigation.

Should not the ethical committees in hospitals be appointed and controlled by the government. Should not they at least have representatives of government in them? Should not an independent agency be recording informed consent of patients? Or, there should be a government controlled depository for such consents with authority to verify consents randomly. Details of clinical trials being done by each institution should be well-publicised and transparent.

Party surrenders Monday, Aug 13 2012 

The party has surrendered. The surrender of CPI (M) member of the Assembly T. V. Rajesh in the Shukkur murder case is not the surrender of an individual but that of the party. The party had organised a hartal that led to much violence and destruction of public property worth Rs. 3 crores when party district secretary P. Jayarajan was arrested in the same case. It had threatened investigating officers and media men when party leaders were arrested in the T. P. Chandrasekharan murder case.

In sharp contrast, party leader M. V. Jayarajan and other brought Rajesh to the court for surrender without any fuss. Even statements made by M. V.  Jayarajan was mellowed compared to the statements made during the arrest of P. Jayarajan.

The long arm of the law has reached party higher ups and it has realised that resistance would not yield much benefits. It would only lead to denial of bail to accused, if their supporters caused mayhem outside. The law has triumphed so far though it ultimate victory will be only in the successful prosecution of the accused.

Politburo and quarrelling children Sunday, Jul 22 2012 

When two children quarrel, some patients punish both children equally. They know that it is tricky to enquire into the reasons for the quarrel, who started the bouts and who received the most.

The CPI (M) politburo is acting on the same lines. It has censured Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan and proposed an enquiry into some of the main issues raised by Mr. Achuthanandan against the State leadership of the party.  It has neither addressed the issues nor resolved any.  It simply brought time. And the children will quarrel again.

Achuthanandan has gone through the usual pretentions of being apologetic about certain aspects of his conduct and being submissive to the party. And party’s benevolent punishment was fully executed with the press conference of party general secretary Prakash Karat.

What puts the politburo in a tight spot is that the official leadership is tightly in control of the State unit of the party and its assets while Mr. Achuthanandan has mass support.

Support for party as such is dwindling and the official leadership had been able to do nothing about that. Instead, it got embroiled in issues like the murder of Revolutionary Socialist Party leader T. P. Chandrasekharan and open admission of its murder politics by its Idukki district secretary.

For more information:

Achuthanandan Censured

Private professional colleges perform without infrastructure! Monday, Jul 9 2012 

Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb

Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb

If Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb is to be believed, all self-financing professional colleges in the State are functioning well. He has told the Assembly so in a written answer on Monday.  The only problem was that some of them lacked infrastructure. None asked how colleges without infrastructure could function well.  Could the students be given practical training without labs? Could they learn without a good library? Should not the colleges have hostels?  (Even the self-financing colleges run by government agencies do not have these facilities).

The High Court has identified as many as one and a half dozen private engineering colleges as under-performing in 2009-12 besides several Self-financing Engineering Colleges under the Institute of Human Resources Development (IHRD). The pass percentage in many of these colleges was low. (However, the parents, who push their wards into engineering colleges even if they don’t have the aptitude or ability to learn, should also be blamed here). Many did not have qualified teachers appointed with tenure.  The practice of appointing teachers on daily wages is a bane of the higher education system. (It was only last month that their remuneration of was increased to decent levels, though their monthly earnings would still be about Rs. 20000 only).

When private self-financing colleges were sanctioned liberally, it was said that the under-performing ones will fall by the wayside. This has not happened with the aspirations of parents and students seeing no limits. They hope for things that are not achievable and the colleges without administrative and teaching infrastructure or teachers make hay while the sun shines.

All kinds of people and organisations, some with dubious past, have entered the self-financing education sector. It is high time that the government insisted on enforcement of strict norms for their functioning. No college without the required facilities and qualified teachers should be allowed to function. The minimum marks for admissions should be raised to prevent the tragedy of mass failures of students.

Related:
Show cause notice issued by AICTE to colleges

BJP emerges gainer but not the winner in Kerala bypoll Tuesday, Jun 19 2012 

O. Rajagopal on election campaign

Protest against Petrol price hike: BJP candidate rides bullock cart during campaign in the by-election from Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency in Kerala

The LDF has suffered a severe jolt in the by-election from Neyyattinkara in Kerala in June while BJP stood as the major gainer. Both the ruling and Opposition Fronts suffered erosion of votes in the election. The vote share of United Democratic Front (UDF) dropped from about 43 per cent to 40 per cent despite victory in the election while that of the LDF dropped from 49 per cent to about 35 per cent. The BJP’s vote share went up about six per cent to more 23 per cent.

The by-poll was necessitated by the resignation of Mr. R. Selvaraj as CPI (M) member of the Assembly and his defection to the Congress. When Mr. Selvaraj contested as CPI (M) candidate in 2011 under the banner of LDF, he had won a vote share of nearly 49 per cent. As Congress candidate now under the banner of United Democratic Front, his vote share has dropped to 40 per cent. So, it is a loss for all the parties except the BJP.

The BJP has gained from the communal divide caused by induction of fifth Minister belonging to the Muslim League into the UDF ministry. However, both the UDF and the BJP have gained from bigger erosion of votes from the LDF camp. This erosion should have been the effect of protest over the brutal murder of RMP leader T. P. Chandrasekharan and the issues raised by the murder.

The LDF lost votes from three groups— CPI (M) workers who sympathised with Mr. Selvaraj, supporters of line adopted by Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan in the party and supporters of the party in the general population who were antagonised by the murder politics and other policies of the party. The last two groups either voted for the UDF or the BJP depending on their communal inclinations or apathy to the UDF. The UDF lost many votes to BJP as the majority community members turned away from the Front over issues like appeasement of Muslim League. However, it benefitted from consolidation of minority votes in its favour, when the BJP seen as making inroads into UDF support base.

Kamala Surayya (Kamala Das) is being forgotten? Thursday, May 31 2012 

Credit: Sreedharan/WikipediaNot many attended Kamala Surayya’s remembrance on May 31. In Thiruvananthapuram, it was marked by a function organised by Kerala Kalakendram which did not get much attention.

One need not be a fan of her.  Outwardly Madhavikutty appeared to be a child woman with her eccentricities. But she had talent, imagination and style. Above all, she was an iconoclast. It was probably been the purpose of her writing.

It was evident that the leaders of the religion to which she was born or even the one she adopted at the end were not too happy about her conduct. Perhaps that explains why she is being easily forgotten.

Some raised eyebrows about the presence of Finance Minister K. M. Mani at the function.  What has he to do with Kamala Das? they asked. Well, Mani was using an opportunity that would not have come to him otherwise—Mr. Mani was occupying a cultural space vacated by others.

Related links:

Neermathalam Poothappol

http://obituarytointelligence.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/kamala-surayya-das/

Entrance examination toppers as heroes Thursday, May 24 2012 

 

Society should have its heroes. So, it may not surprise us when newspapers in the State flashed photos and reports about the toppers in the entrance examination for professional courses in the State.

However, are they real heroes?  Despite their preservation and hard work, nine out of ten of the toppers had won their positions after spending an additional year preparing for the examinations. In fact, they can be said to have wasted a year in pursuit of something that is no real learning. So, why celebrate the winners?

Moreover, those he won top ranks after spending a year exclusively for preparing for the entrance examinations could not be termed as toppers over those who have written the examinations immediately after passing the higher secondary courses.

We have already abolished ranks for the SSLC examinations. It is high time that we stopped playing up the entrance results which did not even mean the earning of an academic qualification or distinction. If at all anybody is to be congratulated, it is Vishnu Prasad who completed his Plus Two this year.

 

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