Advertising State lotteries: is it a good deed?

Can buying lotteries be a good deed?  The government says so in its advertisements for Kerala lotteries. It argument may seem right as the revenues from the Karunya lotteries of State government is to be spent for funding assistance to poor patients requiring treatment for serious ailments affecting vital organs of the body.

Lotteries nurture the instinct for gambling. Everybody knows that most of the buyers of the lottery never benefit from it whereas the seller always benefits. However, running of lotteries by the government has been justified on the ground that it provides employment to many and satisfy the urge of the people to try their luck. The justifications get a boost when the government saysTelevision advertisement for Kerala Lotteries that the returns are to be used to fund care of critically ill patients. It also serves as a good marketing strategy for the State lotteries.

However, the picture changes when one examines these arguments from another perspective. The government is resorting to creation of non-productive employment instead of creating real employment opportunities.  Free treatment of poor patients for serious ailments is not a priority of government: it is not willing to spend tax revenues for the purpose; but want people with gambling instinct to do the job. It is promoting the instinct by using fund raising aspect of the lottery for marketing purposes and terming it as a good deed. The marketing campaign would lead to people imbibing wrong values: the buyer of the lottery hides his greed behind altruism.

Mullaperiyar and Kerala’s technical studies

Why did the empowered committee accept the studies done by Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu in preference to the finding of the professors of Indian Institute of Technology (Roorkee and Delhi)? Was it bias? Or did not it have something to do with the quality of the studies.

It is well known that some of the studies were done quickly, just months before they were to be presented before they were to be submitted to the court. The draft of the first part had come with several mistakes that  officials of the Mullaperiyar Special Cell (Kerala) had to go to Delhi to get them corrected. The second part of the seismic stability studies could not even be completed and submitted to the Supreme Court in time.

Expert-Eyes had earlier discussed the errors in the article  Mullaperiyar and environmental impact of raising the water level. Readers and experts can look at the structural stability analysis at

Why did the reputed experts of IIT wanted the study to be restricted to official use only. Were they avoiding public scrutiny? If one looks at the executive summary, it has more background than findings. Though Water Resources Minister P. J. Joseph had told a press conference in reply to questions that the Irrigation Design and Research Board would publish the PMF and flood routing studies on Mullaperiyar Dam done by IIT, Delhi, and Seismic Stability of Mullaperiyar Composite Dam done by IIT, Roorkee, on its Web site; it is yet to do so. The Department is also refusing to release copies of these and other studies under the Right to Information Act.

Mullaperiyar: Directive against disclosure of dam break analysis
Mullaperiyar: behind the veil
IIT Roorkee seismic report has (only) value of paper says TN


Dissent in UDF and LDF

Both the ruling and Opposition fronts in Kerala are plagued by divisions. However, these should be viewed as positive signs for the State’s polity. For, the divisions are over political morality.

The Congress and the Muslim League were and are at odds over certain issues ranging from induction of the fifth League Minister in the Cabinet to several policies in the education sector. However, the Leaders of both parties have seen to it they don’t spill over to affect governance and cohesion of the United Democratic Front.

Congress leaders like V. M. Sudheeran and T. N. Pratapan are in the forefront of opposing various policies of the government such as the mineral sands and abkari policies and measures to help estate owners and land mafia. Government moves to regularise filling up of paddy fields have come in for serious criticism though the government is yet to budge.

Hartal day

ON A HARTAL DAY: M. G. Road near Secretariat in Trivandrum look deserted. The hartal was called by the CPI (M) in protest against the arrest of its Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan in Shukkur murder case.

Constituents of the Left Democratic Front have hardly lend any support to widespread protests by the CPI (M) over the arrest of party Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan in the Abdul Shukkur murder case including the hartal.  In fact, CPI and other constituents are not willing to support murder politics. They want the law to take its course in the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan and others.

Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan had been spearheading a fight within the CPI (M) over what he calls its shift away from leftist polices. His strategy is to take a few steps forward and a few steps backward. He had demanded proper investigation into the murders and had not opposed the arrests by the police in the Chandrasekharan murder case. However, he said that the arrest of Mr. Jayarajan was partisan.