A soldier wanted to build a house. That’s fine. Everyone wants to own a home. This jawan started construction in his home district of Alleppey one and a half years back. He would not have anticipated any problem.
Trouble started when he and his brother unloaded some building materials that had been brought to the site.
Enter members of the Marxist-led workers union. They had no objection to the brothers handling the unloading. They only wanted to be paid for the job which they did not do. It is known as ‘nokkukooli’, which means looking charges.
Eighteen months passed and more construction material arrived. Again, the brothers and their men did the unloading. The Comrades were back, demanding Rs.4000/- as ‘nokkukooli’ including their unmet demand on the earlier occasion.
The soldier refused to pay. The union men beat up the brothers and their men, and threatened the womenfolk.
This is not an isolated incident. ‘Nokkukooli” is quite prevalent in Kerala, particularly in Alleppey district. The Marxists leaders preach against the practice, but turn a Nelson’s eye when such instances happen.
There used to be a law that permitted citizens to unload domestic items and construction materials for their own use, either themselves or with their employees. The police could interfere if there was any obstruction by outsiders. Likewise, a farmer could handle his produce himself or with his men.
The present Communist-led government changed the law. Now the police cannot interfere. They can watch if they want, but won’t charge anything for that.
Rupees 4,617.5 crore (46,175 million)
Five Year Plan expenditure? A major industrial venture? Some scheme to help the poor? Money set apart for a worthwhile project?
It is the sales turnover for liquor by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation for the year ended March 31, 2009. It shows an increase of Rs.948 crores over the previous year. The figure does not, I believe, include toddy, illegally sold spirits, and liquor directly imported by luxury hotels.
Not a bad performance for a small state!