Even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised several industry-friendly measures to woo investors, a trader in his home district of Kannur was forced to down his shutters after he confronted the powerful headload workers union, CITU which is supported by the ruling CPM.
The owner of SR Traders, into the hardware business, set up the shop on August 2, 2021, at Mathamangalam in Payyanur of Kannur district.
However, instead of depending on the local headload workers of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) affiliated to the ruling CPM which is a practice in Kannur district, the owner of SR Traders, Rubi Mohammed took loading and unloading license for his staff.
This led to a confrontation with the CITU headload workers at the area who blocked the licensed workers of the shop to load and unload when the material came to the shop.
Infuriated with the owner of the shop directly using his staff to load and unload the materials, CITU local leaders barged into the shop and assaulted the owner, Rubi Mohammed. The CITU erected a temporary shanty opposite the shop and conducted a protest from morning till evening and started preventing people who comes to buying materials from the shop.
Meanwhile, CITU district secretary in charge of headload workers, K. Kunjappan while speaking to media persons at Mathamangalam, said: “It is immaterial whether the shop is open or not, for us the concern is that our workers get job of loading and unloading.”
Kerala Labour Minister, V Sivankutty who is also a CPM leader, however, said that the shop was closed due to some license issues and not because of anything else. Sivankutty, was Thiruvananthapuram district president of the CITU before assuming office as minister.
Rubi Mohammed told mediapersons: “I am shutting the shop with a heavy heart even as I have invested more than Rs 75 lakh. I cannot do business even after getting all the required license. The CITU (an offshoot of the CPM) will not allow me to conduct business… they threaten me.”
Vijayan had recently on a visit to the UAE addressed a meeting of NRIs and promised them that the state of Kerala is a paradise for investing and that the government will provide all clearances with immediate effect.
V. Manivarnan, Kannur district Vice president of BJP told IANS: “Every time the government led by CPM is in power in Kerala, the CITU uses all high handedness against businessmen.”