Kerala is witnessing differences between the political leadership and the bureaucracy over the delay in issuing an order regarding a moratorium on farmers' loans, a major poll-eve decision of the Left government.
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reportedly expressed his displeasure to Chief Secretary Tom Jose, another minister had openly expressed his displeasure and even commented that the chief secretary was not even attending his calls.
Following the suicide of nine farmers due to financial stress in various parts of the state over the last few months, the Kerala Cabinet on March 5 decided to extend the moratorium on farmers' loans till December 31, 2019.
But a formal government order in this regard wasn't issued as the scheduled for the Lok Sabha elections came on March 10 and the matter may amount to violation of the model code of conduct.
As the issue became controversial, the chief secretary came out with a clarification that the one-year moratorium declared by the government in October 2018, following the recent floods, was in effect till October 2019 and hence farmers needn't worry.
He also said that the government's fresh decision has already been conveyed to the banks.
Earlier, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said that government orders on Cabinet decisions have to be issued within 48 hours.
"I don't know the reason why the order on the moratorium was not issued in 48 hours. Though I tried to contact the chief secretary to get a clarification on the matter, the chief secretary did not even attend my call," Sunil Kumar said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is learnt to have conveyed his displeasure over the delay in issuing the government order to the chief secretary at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The government now hopes to issue the fresh order extending the moratorium till December 31 as soon as the Lok Sabha elections are over.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala took political advantage of the opportunity to attack the government. He alleged that the government lost its control over the bureaucracy.
Even peons wouldn't listen to the chief minister these days, he said.