With the state festival of Kerala just round the corner, the LDF-led government has kicked up a storm by attempting to restrict the much awaited Onam celebrations in government offices during working hours citing public inconveniences.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in a Facebook post noted that it is inappropriate to have celebrations and laying and displaying flowers during working hours. "Such festivities should be held after working hours or on holidays," he noted, adding that sales and purchase of various artifacts within and around the premises of the offices will also be restricted as the practice consumes a major chunk of time.
The Kerala CM concluded his post stating: "not just Onam, the celebration of all other festivals in government offices should not affect the functioning of the administration."
Earlier, the Kerala CM had stated that every file that comes in front of government employees is like a life and should be dealt with utmost care.
The decision comes in the wake of complaints from the public that the festivities have been troublesome for some, as the staff at the offices go on a holiday mood affecting resolution of pending issues. Various programmes are often planned by different service organisations at the State Secretariat and District Offices during the festival.
A cursory glance at the holiday list of the state reveals that the government's move might be a well meaning measure, considering government services will be closed or reduced until Sept. 21.
Activities such as Onam sadya, laying flowers (floral carpets aka Onapookalam) and various competitions during working hours that are related to the festivities could bring the administrative functioning to a partial halt. However, not everyone is seeing it in the same spirit and the decision of the government has not gone down well with sizable others.
Not only has the statement of the Kerala CM created confusion among the public, who believe that he is against the festival, K Surendran, Kerala state general secretary and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also reacted to this decision calling the government to reconsider its move as it feels like an insult to the Malayali community.
Onam is celebrated in the second week of September.