Anti-establishment work alleged

The State government has expelled P.R. Prathapachandran from the director board of the Consumerfed (Kerala State Cooperative Consumer Federation Ltd).

The order in this connection was issued on July 15 by the Joint Registrar of Cooperatives. Mr. Pratapachandran, a Congress leader from Kollam, was on the board after being nominated as convener of the Kollam District Wholesale Cooperative Consumer Society.

Consumerfed president Joy Thomas told The Hindu that Mr. Prathapachandran was expelled for anti-establishment activities.

Mr. Prathapachandran tried to defame Consumerfed by misinforming a section of the media that it was in deep red, Mr. Thomas said. This resulted in financial institutions becoming reluctant to extend help, suppliers failing to deliver, and employees losing confidence, he said.

Consumerfed was not intended to function as a profit-making organisation. Its motive was market intervention to keep prices of essential commodities under control. That would mean, for instance, selling rice at a price much lower than market rates. The losses suffered are reimbursed by the government, Mr. Thomas said.

Mr. Thomas said Consumerfed’s business last fiscal touched Rs.2,000 crore and the loss was only Rs.19 crore. As much as Rs.48 crore was paid as interest to financial institutions for loans availed. The Consumerfed network could be expanded to touch 750 directly managed Nanma Stores and 140 mobile Triveni Stores in the last two years, he said.

The government had issued orders to conduct election to the Kollam district unit of the organisation, The unit will be placed under an administrator till then, he said.

Response

Mr. Prathapachandran said he had not engaged in any activity intended to harm Consumerfed. He said he had only pointed out that in addition to the losses shown in last year’s audited report, Consumerfed suffered an additional loss of Rs.30 crore and those at the helm had to explain.


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