KOZHIKODE: The management of Chandrika daily, the mouthpiece of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), is actively trying to sell out its headquarters and about 50 cents of prime land on Kannur Road near Paragon Hotel, as the publishing firm is struggling to survive.
The daily which commenced operations in 1934 in Thalassery, was shifted to the present location in 1938. With a legacy of several decades and linked to IUML leaders like CH. Muhammed Koya who is also a former editor of the daily, the building complex is one that connects IUML with its glorious past.
The board of directors of the daily has ratified the shifting plan in principle, sources said. In a first step, the office and printing press of Chandrika will be shifted to a leased land in Kakkanchery in Malappuram. The debt of the publishing house and the move to shift the office complex is yet to be publicised. However, in a recent annual general body meeting of shareholders, veteran IUML leader E. Ahmed had opposed the move to either sell out the property or to lease out the land for constructing a shopping mall, it is learned.
Cash strapped, the publishing house has a liability to the tune of Rs 4 crore including Rs 1.25 crore as Provident Fund arrears to be paid to the PF account of employees, apart from huge sums pending as salary arrears to employees. A petition is pending at the Labour Office regarding non-payment of salary arrears and another at PF directorate for failure in remitting PF of employees.
Kakkodan Muhammed Haji, former general manager of the publishing group, told this newspaper that there were many attempts to revive and modernise the cash-strapped entity, but it failed to materialise due to the lacklustre attitude of a section of leaders. “I strongly believe that a word to party workers on the liability would help in pooling in sufficient money in no time to save the party mouthpiece from the existing financial crisis as well as to modernise it,” he said.
On the reported move to sell out the property, Muhammed Haji said that without the consent of party workers nobody can sell the land. “It is the property of the community,” he added.
However, Youth League leader P.K. Firoz said that the Chandrika management has all rights to take an appropriate decision on the future of the daily. “But I believe before finalising on such a crucial decision, it would be discussed among party workers and leaders of various mass organisations,” he added.
One reason pointed out for the present plight was the origin of Suprabhatham daily, launched by the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema, the Sunni scholars’ body which also caters to the same class of Muslim readers....