Sudhakaran’s empty rhetoric’s to cover up non-performance

published on July 1, 2008

Co-op sector in a shambles



T’PURAM: Empty rhetoric alone cannot save Cooperation Minister G Sudhakaran from non-performance.

The Co-operation, his main portfolio, is in a shambles, except scattered gains by some marketing agencies under the department.

The classic example is Rubco, the flagship co-operative mega project of the CPM. Sudhakaran has failed to bail out this firm which started business on rubber-based products and then diverted even to coconut oil business.

The CPM’s flagship co-operative under Sudhakaran, who has failed to give life to corrupt Devaswoms and the all-important coir sector that survives on lakhs of labour, has incurred a loss of over Rs 60 crore to serve the interests of the party and some CPM leaders.

The total liability of Rubco is Rs 300 crore. Yet, the CPM leaders and Sudhakaran have managed to secure another Rs 55.76 crore from the NCDC. But sensible officers in the Secretariat have thwarted Sudhakaran move to channel this NCDC assistance to Rubco by asking the firm to pay over Rs 7 crore as sales tax to the State Government before availing itself of this loan.

The auditing of Rubco is history. The Managing Director confided with Express his helplessness to disclose the present financial dealings and the involvement of top CPM leaders in the running of Rubco.

If Rubco is a classic example of Sudhakaran’s non-performance, other sectors under the Cooperative Department are struggling to get a breather. Of the total 13,000 co-operatives spread in different areas, around 2,800 have downed their shutters.

Under Sudhakaran, the number of loss-making primary agricultural credit societies has gone up to 833 out of 1,557 functional primary agricultural credit societies. The average deposit per member in these societies has come down to Rs 4,951 while the percentage of overdue to demand and overdue to outstanding went up to 38.01 pc and 22 pc.

The number of self-help groups which landed in loss has gone up to 4,007. If the growth rate of deposit mobilisation was 426 percent in 2002, it came down to 286.66 percent in 2007.

The plight of cooperative sector only establishes the fact that Sudhakaran has totally failed to address problems such as large percentage of dormant membership, heavy dependence on government assistance, political interference, lack of professional management and overdues which weaken a movement which once had a solid foundation and impressive track record.

They also suffer from low-resource base, high dependence on refinancing agencies, imbalances, poor business diversification, low recoveries, huge accumulated loss, lack of professionalism and skilled staff, weak management information system, poor internal checks and control systems.

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