Despite his impressive resume, Congress factionalism costs chairman of Ernakulam region his post

M.T. Jayan, chairman of the Ernakulam region of Milma, has been shown the door.

Mr. Jayan was instrumental in converting the Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, one of the three regional units of Milma, into a successful enterprise when the dairy sector in Kerala was passing through a rough phase. His track record is of little significance against the pulls of factional equation.

Since Mr. Jayan took charge as the Ernakulam region’s head in 2008, he has set the cash registers ringing. It made profits consecutively for the past four years — Rs.326.18 lakh, Rs.230.04 lakh, Rs.338.64 lakh, Rs.339.22 lakh. It has made a profit of Rs.8.69 lakh till December of the current financial year. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in 2008 when the region had an accrued loss of Rs.1.31 crore.

A bag of measures, including the setting up of a modern dairy processing unit at Tripunithura and offering higher price for dairy farmers are underway. Perhaps, the most significant factor is the retention of farmers in the dairy sector, providing hope for self-sufficiency in the sector where farmers have been quitting en masse.

The exit of the head of the regional milk cooperative body is a clear case of political skulduggery. The reason: he doesn’t belong to the ‘I’ faction of the Congress. There were a lot of preparations in the party’s faction camps prior to the developments that led to the unceremonious ouster, painted as a resignation. There were no written commands from party to vacate the chair. But, even the dates for the exit were predetermined.

February 8 was the last date that Mr. Jayan was supposed to be on the chair. Well before the appointed date, he was given a communication by ‘Sahakarana Janadhipathya Vedi’, an organisation understood to be the self-imposed authority in the sector. The Vedi convenor Karakulam Krishna Pillai asked him to resign as the permitted time slot for chairmanship as per the understanding between factions was coming to a close on that date. The Vedi was even ready to flaunt a stamp paper in which the factions had agreed upon an agreement.

Mr. Jayan heads 17-member director board which includes three nominated members. He is learned to be enjoying the support of the majority of members. 10 members have already submitted a signed memorandum to KPCC to retain Mr. Jayan. One of the members, to whom The Hindu spoke, said, “There is no proper set-up within KPCC to take care of the milk cooperative; there is lust for power behind the removal of the chairman of the well-managed region”.

But P.A. Balan Master, another member of the Director Board, whose name is among the probables to head the organisation, said, “It is a routine exercise; agreements have been made at the panchayat-level at several places for sharing of power (between the groups). Change of guard is a KPCC-level decision.” P.T. Gopalakurup, chairman of Milma, too, spoke on similar lines. “It is a party adjustment. Panchayat presidents are changed after a year or two as per agreements, he said.

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