Former Kerala minister and veteran CPI leader E Chandrasekharan Nair died at the age of 89 years on Wednesday. He was elected to the state legislative assembly six times and was regarded as one of Kerala’s best food and civil supplies ministers. He has been credited with introducing several noteworthy initiatives such as the popular Maveli stores and Onam markets, that was a big hit with the common man. For most Malayalis, Onam is a time when expenses multiply as they gear up for the festivities and E Chandrasekharan Nair is known as the ‘Maveli Minister’ who made Onam celebrations affordable with the introduction of ‘Maveli’ markets.
It was in 1980 that E Chandrasekharan Nair introduced Onam Markets. At the time, he shared his vision clearly when he stated, ”All items that are essential for Onam festival should be available for common man through these markets. Our objective is to make sure that Malayalis can purchase good quality items for Onam at the most affordable prices. Till the night of ‘Uthradam’, which is when most employees get their bonuses from employers, the Onam markets should remain functioning.”
The remarkable success of Kerala’s first-of-its-kind Onam markets brought forth the vision to make this a permanent feature, which is how the Maveli stores came to be established across Kerala. Through Maveli stores, ordinary Malayalis got access to a wide range of household products at the most affordable prices.
E Chandrasekharan Nair also served as president of state cooperative bank for six years. Not only as an able administrator, E Chandrasekharan Nair also made his mark as the managing editor of ‘Janayugam’. In 2001, he retired from active politics but remained popular with the people due to the initiatives that he brought to make food and daily use items more affordable for them.