CPM enters five star hotel venture

via Pioneer News Service | Kozhikode published on September 4, 2008

The Kerala unit of the CPI(M), backed by an asset base worth more than Rs 4,000 crore and a vast cadre system, is in the last stages of entering the glittering area of hospitality business with a five-star hotel. The party, which had on last Sunday opened a Rs 30-crore water theme-cum-amusement park at its fortress Kannur, would soon launch the new business with a Rs 25-crore five-star hotel and a hospitality institute in Kozhikode city.

A 58-cent land plot has already been acquired by the party-controlled Kozhikode Tourism Development Society, a Communist cooperative, for the purpose and top leaders are busy collecting money from investors for the project. The party-controlled society purchased the land from the director board of the legendary ComTrust Spinning and Weaving Mills through a court case in the context of suspicions that the cooperative bank controlled by CMP could take it over.

Everything needed for the setting up of the star hotel-cum-hospitality institute project has been organised and the director boards of the society for its promotion has already been constituted. The director board has two CPI(M) Ministers, party’s Kozhikode district committee secretary TP Ramakrishnan and Kozhikode City Mayor M Bhaskaran as members.

Top party leaders refused to explain the project but one claimed there was nothing wrong in a Communist party trying to establish a network of bright businesses. The party now owns three television channels, specialty hospitals and a theme park.

Society vice-chairman M Mehaboob said efforts had already begun for the project and that they were collecting money for it. The basic individual shares in the society were being given for Rs 5,000 a unit and a single member could take several shares.

At the same time, the CPI(M) has also begun efforts to solve the problem of space as far as the star hotel project is concerned. Since 58 cents of land is insufficient for a star hotel project in the modern era, the party is planning to annexe the 2.5 acres of land still owned by the ComTurst Cooperative, ruled presently by a governing body constituted by trade union representatives, cashing in on its financial crisis.

Reliable sources in the CPI(M) admitted that the CITU representative on the board had started lobbying for the sale of the land to the party on the pretext that such a deal would bring enough money to ComTrust to settle its liabilities. PM Suresh Babu, director of ComTrust representing pro-CPI AITUC, said the land could be bought by the CPI(M) for the project.

At the same time, several members on the director board of ComTrust said the CITU had played a big role in bringing ComTrust to its present pathetic condition through workers’ strikes for unjustifiable reasons. KC Abu, Congress district committee secretary, said the CPI(M) move was a challenge to the people, especially workers of the company. “If the CPI(M) is feeling that business is better than political work it should do it but must not use the ComTurst land for that,” he said.

Meanwhile, opposition to the party’s race for starting big business ventures is coming up from the grassroots level, where cadre are feeling that the leaders are up to some big mischief which they cannot understand. The general feeling is that the top leaders of the party, especially those from the neo-liberalist camp, are building up an asset base which would look after their financial interests in the future if something happens to the party.

“When the party was planning to launch a television channel, we all had worked for that tirelessly as there was a thinking that the party should have a good presence in electronic media just like we have it in the print sector with Desabhimani daily. But one fine morning the leaders simply announced that the CPI(M) had nothing to do with the management of Kairali TV to escape some crisis in the context of the group war. I am convinced that this is not the way to treat us, who had worked for that channel, who had bought shares in it simply because we wanted it to come up,” said a branch committee secretary in Alappuzha.

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