Monday, June 05, 2006

First Anti People Policy of LDF Government?

Recently the new Minister for Labor in Mr Achuthanandan’s cabinet P K Gurudasan has said that Government will not be implementing “THE KERALA LOADING AND UNLOADING ACT, 2002”. He termed the act as a “BLACK LAW”. This made me write this post.

I was in the first year of Engineering (1994) when we decided to construct one more room to our house. Each day we have to bring in 50 sacks of cement. As soon as the mini lorry arrived a group of about 10 CITU workers came from nowhere. They wanted Rs.1000 to unload the cement from the lorry. My father was ready to givel Rs.300. They came down to Rs.750 and started using abusive language. The so-called leader told “Give us Rs.750, otherwise we will sit here and will make sure no one touches it ”. They thought we would finally oblige to their threads. Another chotta (small) leader shouted at my father “If you keep us like that finally you may have to unload it”. My father asked them is it ok that I can unload. They thought we can never do it and agreed. My father and myself unloaded it in about 45 minutes.

If you are a Malayali or if you have stayed in Kerala for a period of time you will surely have some stories like this to tell - unruly behavior of so called trade union leaders. One more example of highhandedness of head load workers, which I can recollect – My first job as a Civil Engineer was in BSES Kerala Power Ltd during its construction stage in 1998. Some stuff like generator that weighs about 5 to 10 tons will come to the site and you have to unload it using a crane. The head load workers just have to put the hook on the generator and they charge Rs.1000/ton. In addition they have what is called “Nokkukuli”. Can you believe this? How can any industry come to Kerala?
The High Court of Kerala while delivering a verdict in the M. Jnana Prakasam Vs M. Natarajan case in 2001 blasted the trade unionism of head load workers
They were considered as a group of belligerent and quarrelsome group, always charging exorbitant wages even for carrying petty loads. They enforced the wage rates prescribed by themselves by monopolising the right to do loading and unloading work in a particular area. `Engage them or do not engage anybody' was their motto. This monopoly brought in affluence and headload work became a lucrative job and this prompted many to attempt to enter the field under the leadership of rival unions
To put a control on the highhandedness of head load workers the government introduced this act which was termed as “THE KERALA LOADING AND UNLOADING (REGULATION OF WAGES AND RESTRICTION OF UNLAWFUL PRACTICES) ACT, 2002 “. The salient features of the act were
  • The owner of the building has the right to carry out loading and unloading work for domestic purposes by himself or by employing workers of his own choice
  • In notified areas under Section 5 of the Act, the employer has also been given the right to carry out loading and unloading works for non-domestic purposes, either by himself or by employing workers of his own choice. These areas include industrial parks, export processing zones, industrial and commercial zones, tourism project zones and agricultural markets notified by the Government from time to time
  • Wages of the head load workers will be decided by the Government and will be notified from time to time
  • The Act empowers the police to register a case against offending workers either suo moto or on a written complaint made in this behalf by an employer or any person aggrieved.

This act came as a great relief for the common man as he no longer has to battle it out with the unruly head load workers. It is an irony in Kerala that a law which common man has welcomed with both hands was termed as black law by a Minister. May be for communist ministers all laws that don’t allow petty comrades from harassing common man and make money may be a black law. LDF has showed within a fortnight of coming to power that they have “comrades” interest in mind than the interest of common man who voted for them.


photo courtesy "The Hindu"


Mind Curry said...

Excellent first article Brijesh.

You are absolutely right, this is something that affects every Keralite and makes their lives miserable. Yet, the Commies just want to give their goonda unions more power. We will soon see it becoming worse than West Bengal, where beneath all that "development" lies a military like establishment which allows only the left oriented to rise.

Even my family, like everyone elses for sure, has suffered plenty with these CITU goons. They create havoc at any construction or even residential site to LOOT people. And if you refuse they even become violent.

Ofcourse, this is what the people of Kerala voted FOR, so let them reap the joys of it for 5 years atleast.

Achu meanwhile is supposedly trying to hold on to his seat from the Pinarayi gang, while the rest of the CITU leaders who are now ministers, seem to be bringing in such wonderful laws! So much for the much-awaited Government! Rewind Kerala!

Shinu Mathew said...

Timely post. well done Brijesh.
What can one expect Achu to do? He is so busy protecting his powers from Pinarayi, nothing seems more important. Gurudasan was an arrogant rowdy (sorry for the language) himself, one can't expect to change his behaviour overnight. For the next 5 years, as MC put it, reap the benefits of your wise choice, Keralites!!!
Meanwhile, a few of the privilaged comrades flourish, buying estates and imported cars. Long live Marxism. Long live CPI(M). Long live Trade unionism. Down common man!

Shinu Mathew said...

Sorry forgot to add something!!
Expect more comrade friendlies!! The common man, is at the bottom of their priority list, if he ever there.

Sarah said...

I can totally relate to this.. We(all female) were forced to shift our household stuff to our new place in the middle of the night, in order to avoid the attimarikkaru..
we thought we were smart.. the next morning abt 15 men( big, huge, ugly, no shirt variety) came to our house and demanded 200RS..Amma asked them "for what"..they replied..for the loading and unloading. Amma said"you didn't do any work, my daughters did all the work" and they respoded"nobody asked your daughters to do it..Moral of the story.. we did all the hardwork and they got all the money.

Brijesh Nair said...

MC-Thanks. What is happening here is history repeating itself. Whoever comes to power (UDF or LDF) they have some agenda to implement. When LDF is in power it is the turn of the party to make millions and when UDF is in power it is the turn of “chotta cangrass” leaders to make money. The policies of previous LDF and UDF government (aleast from 1982) are tailored made for this looting. In this looting common man has no place or they are not at all cared. The LDF victory now is not because of the greatness of LDF or its leaders but people had no choice. After 5 years people wont have no choice but to elect UDF seeing the partisan rule of LDF. As saying goes “pothu janam mara kazhudha”

Now about military attitude of communist- I have experienced it myself in Govt Arts College, Trivandrum. It is considered to be SFI bastion. There if someone speaks against any of the bad things these SFI guys do you will wake up in any of the hospital. So in fear no one speaks against them and they think they are the king. They won’t allow anyone else to file nomination to contest election and they think that they are elected unopposed because they are popular. “potta kinatille thavalakal”. If it is SFI in Arts College it is ABVP in MG College, trivandrum.

I will give atleast another 5 more months to Achuthanandan before passing any comments about him.

Anon1-Mallus have no choice. They have to choose from 2 devils and they choose them alternatively.

I don’t know much about Gurudasan. So I am not commenting on that.
“Meanwhile, a few of the privilaged comrades flourish, buying estates and imported cars. Long live Marxism”
You are absolutely correct. To understand that you don’t have to go beyond CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. His daughter studied in a private college in Coimbatore. He went for his vacation with family to Singapore. This is how the Marxism is implemented by Marxist leaders. So common people can’t expect more.

Brijesh Nair said...

Immigrant in Canada-If u asked them to do the work they may have demanded more than Rs 200. You saved few bucks there. The worst thing of the headload workers is this “nokku kuli” or “attimari kuli”. Anywhere in the world have you heard of any profession in which you get paid for just being an onlooker?

A said...

I think everyone living in kerala has one or more experience of the same. These trade unionists are on the lookout for any vehicle carrying heavy load. They then follow the vehicle and offer to unload the items. If u refuse, they start threatening you, saying they wont allow anyone else to unload it, except yourself( not even the neighbours are allowed to touch them)Sad indeed is the state of affairs!

Babin said...

I don't understand.. how can a minister who took the oath to protect the laws of the land openly say he will not implement certain laws?? This guy should be disqualified from the MLAship for breaking the oath.
Wonder whats next... I guess concerned Marxist who are so worried about the human rights of Gundas will probly decalre they will not implement Gunda Act either.. I hope not.

Welcome to the the Blog Brijesh. Expects more posts from you like this one.

Rose said...

I had a bad experince myself.. We had to pay abt Rs 1000 and guess these workers hadnt moved a muscle.. We had to pay even after evrythn was unloadn by my cousins..

Hope this brings abt a change.. Hope it is implemented well..


Brijesh Nair said...

Maverick- Yes every one who has stayed in Kerala will have a bad story to tell about head load workers.

They then follow the vehicle and offer to unload the items- I don’t think they ever “offer” to unload stuff. They consider that as their birth right to unload stuff at a rate they feel is correct (and what everyone else feels is unjust).

Yes these people just sit in the corner all day chatting, drinking and smoking not doing anything just looking out for someone to extract money from.

Babin-All these communist ministers have reached this level breaking law and they don’t know how to obey them. P K Gurudasan is only showing that.

Goonda Act will be modified like this “All Marxist party workers can never come under goonda act; No police can charge any of the Marxist party workers under goonda act”. :)

Rose- I think you misunderstood my post. Omman Chandy govt brought a law to end the highhandedness of head load workers and make them accountable. Now the new Communist government is going to drop it. It is going to make things worse for people.

mathew said...

worst that it happens only in kerala..
i have been in karnataka for past 2 years and never experienced such behaviour..

Myna said...

25 years back, I witnessed a similar incident where my father's elder brother had to demolish his compound wall to get the lorry into 'his premises'. Around 3 years back, I listened to the account of another incident by my father-in-law on how he was forced to oblige during the construction phase of my house. In my last visit home, I had to undergo an oil massage after I took charge to unload tile packets after failing to spot loading workers. There is a bitter taste in my mind, I must say but I would like to make some more observations too.

1. Some of my classmates, friends, are in that line of work. Some work in railway stations as porters, some outside for the kind of work mentioned earlier. I have noticed that there is a difference in pricing considering the pocket size of the customer. Is that socialism, implemented straight? I don't know.

2. Workers, irrespective of whether they wear red or blue or safron, do belong to the category and there is not much difference in the attitude although it differs from place to place and man to man. Its a truth that this blog leans towards right, but that should not blind us to see the real facts.

3. In US, almost all the places tip is a norm and in the order of 15% to 20%. This is in addition to the salary. 750Rs came to 15% of 5000 (50 sacks, 100Rs per sack). It makes me think although common (or middle class) man cannot afford it (as payment alone).
4. 750Rs for 10 workers. 50 sacks of cement. 30-60 minutes of work (taking into account of everything). 5 sacks per person. 75Rs per person. 15Rs per sack. A bit high.

300Rs for 10 workers. 30Rs per person. 6Rs per sack. Not sure.
The government rate is probably 1-3Rs which would be an old rate not revised in years. We may not find a blog to talk on that. If the 'Black law' favours some, the removal favours another community. Isn't it unfair if the same amount is charge
d from me who is probably spending the price of a chocolate packet in dollars? And when I pay that, you will see the impact that makes in society between rich and poor. When the rich can afford, others suffer. I am just thinking loud.
Considering that there will be 20-30 persons in a particular area (there are huge unemployment/education issues) and 5-10 such work per day, the maximum a worker can earn per day is about 100Rs. To take care of a family including wife, kids, parents and sisters? (Yes!, they do have.) As all of us know, not all days are equal. Also true that this amount might land in the nearest toddy shop by evening. There is something wrong, somewhere. Can we blame if that was someones' first and last work for that day?

5. Two words about the abusive language. They are the less educated. I see even the educated doing worse (Browse through some of the blogs and comments and you will get a fair idea).
I don't appreciate the trend of loading workers charging exorbitant rates. But I don't appreciate the trend of not seeing the other side too. Although I don't lean left or right or down or up, sometimes I think that there is a social injustice in the rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer. We treat their work as inferior that demands less remuneration but seek
equality in a different situation. I see double standards there. I can see many eyebrows raising and no complaints for that. There can be a limit to our imaginations and thoughts. After all, we are the ones who draw the boundary lines. We are happy in touching only the outer layer of the issues and do not mind what happens to others. As far as that line of thought exists in our society, we are not close to REAL solutions.

Brijesh Nair said...

Mathew-Yes such a thing will never happen in any place other than Kerala

Myna-Thanks for taking time in writing such a thought provoking comment. Replying to your comments.

1- yes your observation is correct. These head load workers charge customers based on customers. If they feel that your customer is rich then they will demand more and the thread will also be more.

2- I never tried to say anywhere in my blog that CITU people are bad or INTUC and BMS are good. I criticized the Left front govt in this blog because they are going to scrap this law. CITU, INTUC and BMS behave the same way.

3- the problem with head load workers is even though they are healthy and young they are not ready to do any other work. They just sit in the junction looking out for vehicles and if they find one they will try to extract maximum out of it. People are ready to give reasonable charges to them.

When you say people in US gives 10 to 15% tips you are trying to compare India and Kerala. You must remember something; average salary a person gets for a day is less than 300 rs. So for a job a person can do for an hour if a group of head load workers demand 750 Rs it is just exploitation. In US we tip 10 or 15% tip after we buy stuff for say 200$. Each hour we will be earning more than that. So that is the difference.

4- “Can we blame if that was someones' first and last work for that day?” Can’t they do any other work? As I have seen even though they exploit common people most of the head load workers are poor. The reason is spending money for liquor.

5- Using abusive language and education has no relation. I have heard educated people using more abusive language that uneducated people.
“We treat their work as inferior that demands less remuneration but seek
equality in a different situation.”
Myna, no one treats the head load work as inferior. Inferior or superior is not the question. We all agree the head load workers also have their own problems. What we all oppose is that with a strong political system to support them, (head load workers) they exploit the common man.

Myna said...


My intention was to give debate/discussion a different perspective. I felt the post as well as comments were a bit skewed towards only one direction.

I mentioned 'blog' than 'post' and thought that it would be nice to collect them under one category than making a reference only to CITU (and everybody knows, in general, who is the worst of the lot).

Not at all. Can't compare US and Kerala. Also we do not tip 15-20% of the product/service in ALL cases. But I was just thinking about one of us who work outside India and earn better refusing to pay an amount equal to a tip we might otherwise give, but won't mind in distributing a packet of chocolates worth the same amount to the same people. Just thought that there is an irony in that. The attitude of workers, comparison of situations, weighing of the price against service charges - they all contribute towards a decision. Remember, I also agreed that 750 is a bit too much. But then again, we don't find them at our homes every day of the year unless we are into some business.

The post said that the removal of the law was against the common man who do not use their services for say more than 10 or 15 times per year. Removal of the law favours thousands and their families for every day of the year. Although the total number of people in the first set are more, they are in the wrong end very few days of the year. Without justifying the exorbitant rates, I would like to make a point here for thoughts.

The problem they face are these: 1) There is no fixed income like say, salary. It all depends on a particular day and the work they get on that day. No money to keep aside for investments. Other than a 'chitti', they do not know much about the investment options. They can't afford. Various factors. Liquor is only one, and minor too, of the problem. 2) Can't go for other jobs during normal hours as there is a rotation policy. Tough call. 3) Leave the job and go for some other job. But what job? Do we have enough jobs for the skills they have? 4) Each day, the expenses are going up. Commutation, Grocery, Gas, Fees and what not? But there is no revision in the pricing on a proportionate level for their services. What do we expect them to do? And who do you think is showing that concern? 5) How much the doctors and engineers charge for their services for the loading workers? Unfair? Can we see a reason behind an irrational rate?
Interestingly the above list is not complete because unless I talk to one of them, I do not know. Brijesh, I must confess that we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. So when I don't see an alternate view, I feel disappointed. At the moment, we are privileged not to be in their shoes. If we were, we would know. And we might write a different blog if we get enough time off.

Anonymous said...

Communism is like a fourth religion in kerala.
It is extremely sad to see the real picture of our homestate..people with any ambition or education leave the state to go to Middle East or any south indian metros.

Three cheers to the blogger.I myself am stdyin in the notorious Gov.Arts college in tvpm right now.
Yes i know,it is tough.

First day in college thr was a sort of roll call,like in holocaust camps.The Secretary of the SFI told us since its ARts college,we have to keep up to 'expectations' and asked us very politely if anyone had any problems with going out on a strike.

Classes are few,..rarely in fact.Strikes are frequent and observed strictly like a ritual,..there is a 'head priest' who is usually the one to chant out slogans using all his vocal powers ,..but sometimes he maybe helped out by a few select others.

Reluctance to participate or half hearted slogan shouts are instantly punished with abusive words or sometimes physical assaults, every student just takes part in it.

Though most of Arts college students(60-70%) are not interested in all this bs and just want to study,..they hve no option but to be a part of all this.
Since most seats are merit based,there is no dearth for good students..but unfortunately some rogue elements too get admission.

Students in Model skool nearby r raised from their kindergarten,conditioned to be future sfi chettans.
The prob in arts is,.only the SFI adherent,sfi goons hve power,.even the principal is subordinate to the Secretary..and thr is also the threat frm passed out ARTs college sfi goons,.who mostly end up as unemployed DIFFI goondas and come to "visit" their college frequently.

I hope to share more personal experiences,but im thinking of the probability of a fellow ARTs sfi maniac or his frnds reading this,..which is very improbable,considering their literacy levels.

However,one thing is certain,..most of my fellow students ,.(atleast75%,ie mostly the brighter ones) absolutely hate communism by the time they pass out of the stinkin college.
I knw it had a great past,but today its a shithole of the commie goons.Just a politcal weapon and reservoir of youth violence for the CPI(M).

Sreeraj Nair said...

The CPM is the curse of Kerala. The UDF had an excellent chance to rein the anti-social elements with that Goonda act.

CPM and RSS now sent selected persons to journalism schools so that they can have a good idea of who is who among the freshers who join the media.

Anonymous said...

Who is the common man in Kerala?

On one side there are the Trade Unions who loot you of 200 Rs to 1500 Rs.

Shameful bastards -- wouldn't know how to earn a decent meal, in spite of their social position. We also need to understand that these union thozhilalees are all Mothalalees driving Mercs and Fords!

And then there are Bishops and Mullahs and Mayees and whatnots -- who runs Self-financed educational institutions/hospitals -- Taking 100s of thousands of Rs from 'common malayalees'.

Guys, it is easy to call yourself a commoner and then cuss the labourers, when you wouldn't have the voice to shout at Bishops and other Political bastards who 'milk your money'.

Kerala is not perfect, it needs reforms. It needs labour reforms - first. Labourers don't have a fixed salary as many of us have. If they try to rip you off -- it is as good as the doctor ripping you off in a hospital, or the college management ripping you off by taking astronomical amount of capitation fee.

Kerala needs police reforms too.

But, in general, Malyalees who whinge and whine about life in Kerala -- have to ask this question; Isn't Kerala society less divided on caste/religious basis than any other shithole in India?

Don't labourers get paid a higher wage in Kerala than in any other state?

I remember the lady who used to work in our paddy farm. Her daughters, two of them went on to graduate from the nearby college. They didn't pay any college fees - when I paid 18 Rs a month in 1990. They got something like 600 rs a year for buying text books etc.

Today, one of that girls is well-employed, her kids go to a better school. They have a new house. I have seen this social miracle happening - in Kerala.

Just that too many of our flaky malayalee dudes and dudesses are myopic to see the positives of the efforts, at times violent acts, of social justice.

Plenty of youngsters in Kerala found a job in the public sector in the 60s and 70s -- just cause government put money into such schemes.

Their children got heavily subsidised education -- and are today doctors, engineers and whatnots (some of them remain to be wankers -- just can't help it)

In 1980, the average 'coolie' for a labourer was about 12 Rs. Today it is 300 Rs.

More later

Anonymous said...

car insurance price
car insurance uk
auto insurance company
car insurance
car insurance ny
direct car insurance
car insurance houston
progressive car insurance quote
nationwide car insurance
allstate car insurance
florida car insurance
l car insurance

best car insurance company
buy car insurance
progressive car insurance quote
young driver car insurance
auto insurance company
admiral car insurance
l car insurance

free online car insurance quote
aarp car insurance
best car insurance quote
agent car company home insurance life quote rate
texas car insurance
car insurance uk
online car insurance
nationwide car insurance
mercury car insurance
car insurance for woman
car insurance price

Random Keyword: :)
low cost car insurance online

Anonymous said...

Kerala Police Inactive !
Farmers Dying by Suicide !
Blade+Land+Gunda Mafias are strong in Idukki Dist., Kerala.

For more details, visit the given below weblink:

Renil.D.R said...

Hi Brijesh,
Its a great thing you have posted here. Its time for all of us to wake up and fight agaist the noku kuli.

You missed out the outrage of "Chumattu Thozhilali Union" during the land development of BSES Kerala Power Ltd. They used to charge for each trip of "Tipper Lorry" unloading automatically and soil being spread by bull dozers.


Terms of Use and Disclaimer