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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Vellappally's dig at UDF Govt.

By Our Staff Reporter

KOLLAM, JULY 30. The SNDP Yogam general secretary, Mr. Vellappally Natesan, said here today that the `same outside forces with vested interests' which had controlled the Education Department during the tenure of the previous LDF Government were now controlling the entire policies of the Government.

Addressing a `Meet-the-Press' programme organised by the Kollam Press Club, he said the Government's decisions appeared to be a continuation of the policies of the previous Government. He criticised the recent Cabinet clearance given to 12 new self- financing colleges in the State by stating that no community balance was maintained while taking the decision. The applications of the Ezhava community were rejected on technical grounds though four members of the community were party to the Cabinet decision.

Even earlier with regard to the Plus Two issue, he alleged that the allocations made to the Ezhava community were given ungenerously and that too at the fag end after the other communities had got their share.

He was equally critical of the liquor policy of the UDF Government especially with regard to disbanding the toddy cooperatives. He said that while he would not like to make any comment about the `speed' with which the UDF Ministers were discharging their duties, ``the speed with which the promise of disbanding the toddy cooperatives is being implemented is definitely slow.'' He wanted to know what exactly makes the UDF hesitate in taking a decision to disband the toddy cooperatives.

Even the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. V. S. Achuthanandan, had admitted that the negative abkari policies of the previous LDF Government had led to its defeat in the election. The pity is that the UDF Government fails to recognise this. Hence uncertainty looms large over the toddy industry and this will adversely affect the livelihood of thousands of toddy workers, most of whom hail from the Ezhava community.

The present policy is beneficial neither to the society, the toddy workers nor the State Exchequer. In Kollam district, not a single toddy shop is kept open so that toddy tappers are forced to vend toddy in the streets.

Mr. Natesan, at the same time, said the support extended by the SNDP Yogam to the UDF in the last Assembly election was not a mistake. He said an Ezhava Chief Minister is not necessarily required to redress the problems of the community. Adequate representation in the Cabinet for members of the community who are sympathetic to the demands of the community would suffice, he said.

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