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Sunday, December 30

a HAPPENING year!

2007 is history.

A very 'happening' year for Kerala, as usual..er..not exactly the way you might have guessed. It was a happening year as per our own standards. Yeah, these are the big happenings in our small state the fading year.

37 hartals, local & statewide(read the report here)That's one every 9.8 days! There was even one because Saddam Hussain was hanged. (Next what? When Fidel Castro dies?)
Munnar gimmicks and the comical anti-climax.
Judicial, executive & street fight with Tamil Nadu over Mullaperiyar, Selam Railway Division and similar issues. Beaten black & blue in all fronts.
IIT Extension Centre allowed to Kerala, at last established somewhere in Coimbatore..yes C-O-I-M-B-A-T-O-R-E in Tamil Nadu(but only 30 km from our border. Aren't you happy??)
Trivandrum Airport administration taken over by Chennai! heheheheeee...yes, this one takes the cake!
Chicken Guniya Episodes I & II, Thakkali Pani..(not the names of hit movies but Superhit epidemics) Indian Army was called in during the Guniya Episode II...!!
ISRO land cat fight...climax expected in early 2008. But this time Chennai will not win the fish... because Bangalore will!
British Library closed.
Kochi Metro, Vizhinjam Terminal, Technocity, Kannur Airport all still where they started
Apart from this, usual 'happenings' like Karu-Murali musical chair, VS-Pinarayi kabadi match, lathicharges, stone-throwing, strikes, vazhi-thadayal, karinkodi kanikkal and all those high voltage dramas went on smoothly.
Smart City foundation stone laid.(Ah at last after 3 years)


OK folks...pick the odd man out from the above list...
Is it so difficult???

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Saturday, December 22

The saga continues...

Here comes the latest 'scoop'!Take a look at the snapshot of Malayala Manorama on 21 Dec 2007.



Main-headline (in bleeding bold letters) cries out that hundreds of acres of land in 7 districts were bought by various companies in the name of IT, Boitechnology development. The report states that this is a clear violation of the Land Reforms Act, which states that an individual or family couldn't own more than 15 acres of land. A team of investigators are probing into these shady deals by the 'mafia'.

Oh, I'm confused... Imagine this situation...

A company plans to establish an IT/BT township in 100 odd acres. They buy land from local people by paying market rates. They create first-world infrastructure for attracting the best players and aid in creating thousands of jobs.

Which is the shady deal here? And most importantly who is the mafia?

In Cochin, Shobha Group has commenced work on thier Hitech City in around 400 acres of land. Unitech, Parswanath, Emaar have large parcels of land for their projects which will rival the Smart City. In Trivandrum, Mahindra Group is said to have 150+ acres of land. They waited in vain for years for land from Govt to build thier World City as in Chennai.(Just look at the long list of land requests from IT Companies in Technopark website! What do you expect them to do? Wait for ages for Govt acquired land or go in their own ways?) They all have bought the land at prevailing rates, unlike our Govt who forced people off their lands offering them Rs.10,000/cent instead of the original value of 3,00,000!(Please count the no of zeros properly, ok?)

Leaves me wondering...Who is the real mafia here??

Using agricultural land for residential/commercial purposes is against law, agreed. But this news report doesn't mention that it was agricultural or environmentally sensitive land which has been bought by the real estate 'barons'. The issue seems to be that the beurocrats are not able to locate the individual or organisation who purchased the land and for what purpose it has been bought. Well, thats a simple logical explanation. Which sensible organisation in this world would announce that "we plan to build a township in 100 acres here, so please give us the land" and then start purchasing? The announcement itself would spin land values out of control and the company would end up paying 10 times the original cost. So it is a common, intelligent and ethical practice to go through the former path. But alas, not in Kerala..

Because...we have such an inefficient and backward system, which always comes up with a 'trumpcard' against big projects. Our bearocracy wont allow even a blade of grass to grow unless they recieve their 'dues'. A herd of super-clown politicians, about whom, the lesser said the better. And our all-inspiring omnipresent media which refuses to grow up...

The result:
Unemployement rates and migration rates second to none in India.

Mr. Menon of Shobha Group remarked that he is not fully confident that his projects in Kerala would be a reality. Well, your worst fears are turning into reality sir! Wait till our great Achumama smells a rat in the so- called 'shady deals'. Soon Unitech, Parswanath and all those 'barons' will be on the run.

Well done Kerala!
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Sunday, December 16

Attitude...in Black & White

Lets have a glance at what our leading Malayalam daily perceived as the most important news each day last week.

CM and Finance Minister targets bureaucracy(Dec 16)
CPI & Munnar land(Dec 15)
Rice from Andhra(Dec 14)
The Aravana issue in Sabarimala(11th & 13th Dec)
The Pathibel affair(Dec 12)
Lavlin sub company & Panniyar(Dec 10)

Contemporary and primary social issues of Kerala, is it not? Wait a minute! Scan those news reports a bit closely, and here emerges the picture which is all too familiar for us...Those news are nothing but desperate attempts by the newspaper to bash Kerala's ruling left front, a role they have performed admirably from 1956. They try their best to carry out their hidden(now well understood) agendum, and mind you, they are doing well! Makeshift headlines, just for the sake of it. That sums up Kerala journalism for you.

You may argue that these are better times when compared to the Karunakarn-Antony-Chandy battles, Kunjalikkutty's ice cream, Kilirur, Kaviyoor and the never- ending list of sex scandals,which our media thought were most important. As a result the real woes faced by Kerala society always remained under the heap. While our neighbouring states moved ahead at break-neck speed in attracting investment, generating employment, improving public amenities and infrastructure, elevating the standards of living and eliminating issues relating poverty, all we managed to do is drive out potential investors, close down functional industrial units, increase unemployment and lamenting that we missed this bus, next bus and last bus...But who cares? We are still interested in ice creams, rotten scandals and antics of comical political leaders and stories about their nomadic voyages from one party to the next..and next...and next...No wonder the press too goes after such tales.

I remember an episode when I was In Karnataka. Bangalore was lobbying to get Central aid for its Metro Rail, and Mr. H. D. Dewe Gowda made some allegations against the project. He was claiming that a Metro would take the charm out of the historic avenues, it is economically non viable, sky bus is more appropriate bla bla bla...The majority of print media immediately came against the former Prime Minister, ridiculing his idiotic statements. Newspapers carried headings such as "Now Gowda halts Metro Rail" ,"Oh no! Not again Mr. Gowdรค" and so on. Today, the project is well and truly on its track. The power of the pen used for constructive purposes... What if it was in Kerala? Another 5 years down the drain, for sure. That day in Kerala, newspapers were toiling hard to establish that Dubai Internet City was a private real estate agent, because the then Opposition leader V. S. Achuthanandan imagined so!

The attitude of the Kerala people and press needs some serious revamp. We have no new roads, but that's fine, the existing ones are little better than lunar surface. We don't want Expressways because it will divide our State into two, like how our country got divided into India & Pakistan. Our youth are forced to depend on neighbouring states to earn a living and even for higher studies, but whats the big deal, we still have 100% literacy! We managed to donate prestigious institutes like IIT to TamilNadu, and here we are still pushing hard to repeat the story with IIST.(Alas! We may not manage to drive them out because VSSC is situated in Kerala) Our railway divisions and projects are getting axed one by one, projects like Fashion Cities, Car Manufacturing units, Metro Rail, Seaport projects are dead & buried or still at the starting point after many years. And latest is that our Capital's International Airport is now controlled by Chennai! That's our sad state of affairs...But anyone worried?

The chairman of one of our leading dailies have openly accepted that he is anti-development.(over the expressway issue). Our numero uno daily has even more important business as explained at the beginning, even though they claim to be pro-development. Among the other popular print media one is cent percent political-party owned and others have religious and community agenda in the forefront. But they all have one thing in common: Failure to address and tackle the development issues of our state.

All these picture a very disturbing scene. A society too deeply obsessed by petty politics, regionalism, scandals and out-dated ideologies, and a media tailormade for them. Apart from a lone report on Smart City or Vallarpadom Terminal, there has been very few honest efforts by the media to highlight and carry the progressive thoughts and attitudes into the public. A drastic change is inevitable for our survival...Will it happen?

Im hopeful, anyway.
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Friday, December 14

Paradise lost?





Hi folks...



Welcome to my blogspace! I'm not overconfident of being able to keep the blog fed regularly, but I certainly do have the enthusiasm and drive to address the teething, and often frustrating issues related to the development and prosperity of our evergreen strip of land- Kerala. A paradise on earth in many ways, but long lost...The Dept. of Tourism has laudably marketed our state within and outside India as God's own country, and our dollar reserves have grown fatter each year, they say. But so have our debts...

An infant comes out of his mother's womb with a debt of nearly 12000 Rupees on his head. This is not the bill his parents owe the hospital, but what our political leaders have managed to achieve after 50 years of selfless service.


But are they the only ones to blame??


Kerala do project an astonishing picture of stark contrasts which is very very difficult, often impossible to understand. Where have we failed? Many of us may be able to answer the question but the most painful part is that we are adamantly refusing to learn from our mistakes. This blog will predominantly try to reflect what we are doing to our own state and where it will eventually take us..


Will our paradise be regained??
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About me

Hello there!



WELCOME TO THE ABODE OF SCORPIOGENIUS!



Wanna know about me?


Simples...



Mallu-man
Scorpio
far from a genius...a bit too far
full-time day dreamer and absent minded
urban enthusiast
travel buff
trying hard to see only the full portion of a half-empty glass
love politics, hate politicians
can't stand hypocrisy and mediocrity
and now learning to become a family man!



You're here, thanks to Google and Blogger. This is a personal webpage, for strictly personal views, and absolutely no intentions to hurt your feelings. If you disagree strongly about something, be open minded to let me know. We'll sit around and sort things out, shall we? :)


And one small request: If you wanna tell me something just bear at least the name of your neighbour's pet. I'm not very impressed by Anonymous human beings, you know...








Thanks again, and see you!


Oh, if you have any suggestions, complaints, criticisms or advice to me then here is your platform. In addition you may also refer the Legal Disclaimer at the bottom of this page before you proceed to read this blog. Go on, fill this up and let me know your thoughts. I promise you a reply as soon as I get your ping. :)




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