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100 harthals in last 10 months in Kerala! It's high time; Kerala should say no to harthal

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Today Kerala witnessed 100th harthal. A successful harthal (as claimed by UDF) despite of order from the honorable high court and human right commission. It proves that harthal succeeds in Kerala only because people are afraid of the political parties here. Their unintentional support because of the fear for their life and assets. But it is alarming that why no one seems to be bothered about the loss state bears due to these harthals. In the last 10 months Kerala witnessed 99 harthals in which some were state wide and some were district wise. Among that 38 were by Sangh Parivar organisations, surprisingly the ruling party LDF also held 14 and the very anti-harthal UDF also gave 14th. Reason for the most harthals were CPM -BJP (30+) political murder rirvarly. Only on very few occasions these harthals called for subject's mattering peoples life. Out of this Kozhikode district witnessed a two day long harthal shut down Because of that, the vyapari vyavasayi ekopana samithi (VVES) took a decision not to support harthals concerned about the loss of business. Alas same VVES president's own shop shut downed in today's harthal.

Harthal was organised before independence under the watch of Mahatma Gandhiji to stage protest against British for their regulations, and also to bring a loss for them. But today who is at loss? Kerala bears a loss of 900 crores rupees in service and pay sector alone according to chamber of commerce, on a harthal day. The agricultural sector loss has not been taken into account so far. These back to back harthals make life tough for people with less income, those include daily wage workers. If one day they have no work means, no pay. When political parties announce harthals from their offices, why are they blind towards the emergency medical needs of people? It is said that ambulances are excused in harthals, but recently during some harthals even they weren't spared. Which forced ambulance owners and technicians not to do services on harthals at some stage. When the government outlines 200 working days for educational institutions in an academic calendar, even students are being denied their right to study. Different universities conduct around 10000 exams in a year, and back to back harthals collapses the entire exam timetable. Even PSC is also not exempted. Also, Goods transportation stoppage, stoppage of major events like weddings, airport travel delays, the loss of KSRTC (already struggling to survive), etc creates strain for many. The main business district of Kerala, Ernakulam saw 354 harthals in the last ten years that means almost a year, in which the loss is 10% of the productivity. Economic experts say if a venture is not used 10%, it won't run for more than 5 years. In 2005, German Car makers BMW chose Kerala to build their plant.Their talks with government went well, but the day BMW delegation came to visit a site for the project in Kalamassery, they were welcomed with a harthal. In spite of having a cavalcade of Police vehicles, the DYFI created a ruckus and showed them black flag, which was equal to black flagging the development of Kerala.The delegation bid goodbye to Kerala and they started the plant at Sriperumbdur in Chennai. After them, car makers’ like Bharat Benz, Nissan, Renault, Yamaha, etc also made it there. The place where Shri Rajiv Gandhi died became the resurrection place for Tamil Nadu Business Spectrum. The loss of Kerala became a boon for Tamil Nadu which employs many there. When 2015 Emerging Kerala roadshow happened in Mumbai, the CM was told "How can we invest in your place, when there are back to back harthals happening there", which clearly explains the image of Kerala outside. Even when nation- wide bandh happens, no other state comes to a complete halt. One of the major income generating Tourism field is also getting hit by harthals in Kerala. The government is spending crores to attract tourists with several campaigns, while harthals malign the reputation. These tourists takes leave, pre-book their hotels and when they come, this harthals disturbs it all. In this age of social media, many take decisions upon the experience and review, it can be imagined if a tourist is affected badly by hathal and if that review is posted by them in Social media, how badly the image can be tarnished.

On August 1997 honorable Kerala high court banned bandhs in Kerala. However political parties bypassed so called bandhs into harthals hence. It was during last government's tenure, Shri. Ramesh Chennithala brought a harthal regulatory bill, but it could not be passed. If the bill is passed there is going to bel another harthal happen in it's name, a major political party's leader said. In Kerala, there are some places which don't corporate with any of harthals. Kozhikode Ninam Valavu, Ernakulam Perumbavoor Pulluvahzi and Vallam junction. Whichever may be the party calling harthal, in Thodupuzha Kumpangal, shops will be opened. Don't even dream about shutting shops with your strength and vigour. Because from last 22 years, the people of that place are against harthal. It's high time; the whole of Kerala should say we don't want harthal. For that, a new harthal regulatory bill should be passed in assembly and it should become a law. In a democratic country there should be a place to voice their dissent. But that protests should be meaningful, democratic and non violent way. From cutting off breasts to kiss of love, Kerala also has several examples of that kind protests. It's the 60 years of the foundation of Kerala, so it should be known forever as God's own country, not harthal's own country. There should be a Kerala without harthals.


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