In a domineering move, the administrator of the Coffee Board has issued an order, banning all newspapers, except CPM mouthpiece Deshabhimani, at Indian Coffee House outlets in Kerala. 

The administrator's order, which came into effect from May 1, also says that Deshabhimani should be subscribed compulsorily at all outlets of the popular restaurant chain in the state.

The development has received widespread criticism, with politicians and general public expressing their displeasure. Responding to the order, KPCC interim president MM Hassan said that increasing the circulation of Deshabhimani using a government machinery is wrong.

Meanwhile, co-operation minister and CPM leader Kadakampally Surendran has slammed the order. Stating that the administrator is not fit to lead the Coffee Board, the minister said that the order was unwarranted and will be looked into.

The dissolution of the governing committee of the Indian Coffee Board Workers Cooperative Society and the appointment of an administrator were done by the LDF government recently.

Established by communist leader AK Gopalan in the 1940s and run by a series of worker co-operative societies, Indian Coffee House is one of the largest and most popular restaurant chains in Kerala.