Kerala yet to warm up to
By Sanu George
Dec 10 (IANS) A merry Christmas? People in Kerala are not
so sure this time. Global recession, the Mumbai terror attack
and even the weather are playing spoilsport, they say.
one thing that really signals the arrival of the Christmas
season is the winter that begins in the first week of December.
This time my grandchildren are asking me why the morning nip
is not there," said Pappachen in Kottayam.
the weather is going to be like this, then I wasted a lot
of my time gathering dry leaves. As things stand I don't think
there will be any need for bonfires to keep the kids warm,"
weather is certainly not the only dampener, especially for
the state's Christians who constitute 22 percent of its 32
meltdown seems to have impacted the state's small rubber growers
who just cannot believe that prices of their product have
seen a free fall in the past month.
year, at this time the price was hovering around the Rs.100
per kg mark and now it has been falling dramatically and is
dropping to around Rs.50 per kg. This is really depressing,"
said Mathukutty in Pathanamthitta who is solely dependent
on income from rubber cultivation.
the predominantly Christian-dominated central Kerala districts
of Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur, there are a large number
of small rubber farmers. Kerala accounts for 83 percent of
the total rubber production in India.
tourism sector is also feeling the pinch, particularly after
the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attack. There have been a spate of
to the economic slowdown there was a 20 percent drop in bookings
and after the Mumbai terror strike, the figure is expected
to touch 30 percent," E.M. Najeeb, president of the Confederation
of Tourism Industry in Kerala. Told IANS.
peak tourism season is from November to February-March.
year the total revenue generated from tourism in the state
was Rs.120 billion, and there will be a proportionate fall
in revenue this year," he said.
the flip side, the two sectors that appear to be fully geared
for the festive season are the Kerala State Beverages Corporation
(KSBC) - the lone wholesale outlet for beer and Indian made
foreign liquor (IMFL) - and the various bakeries.
all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, few households
in Kerala can do without a bottle of liquor and cakes at Christmas
though our target has been fixed at 17 percent more than the
last year, we have maintained a growth of 30 percent every
month. However, in November, it fell to 22.23 percent,"
said a KSBC official who did not wish to be named.
we have no doubt that during Dec 24 and 25, we will do 25
percent more business than what we did last year (Rs.250 million)."
a leading baker in the capital city said bakers were confident
despite a weak economy as people could not resist cakes.
speak on the basis of advance bookings that we have been receiving
for delivery of cakes to be made during the Christmas season,"
said a baker.
Irudayarajan, a faculty member at the Centre for Development
Studies here who has done a lot of research on the impact
of migration, told IANS that so far the remittances from the
Middle East had not posed a problem and the state could well
manage to hold on.
weak dollar means more rupees and that is good news for those
who send monthly remittances to their families here. Barring
remittances, other sectors are not having a good time,"
year on account of the weak dollar, remittances would be Rs.250
billion, Rs.50 billion more than last year," said Irudayarajan
who is part of the team studying the impact of the meltdown
for the Kerala government.