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Sunday, December 28

Turning the void page

A few hours down and its curtains 2008!

Another year gone in our life, and yet another blank unsigned check for our evergreen paradise state, as usual.

I thought it would be prudent to have a rewind at what I had scribbled this time last year about how I felt Kerala had done in 2007, and curiously enough this is what I wrote:

Kochi Metro, Vizhinjam Terminal, Technocity, Kannur Airport all still where they started.

mart City foundation stone laid.(Ah at last after 3 years)
A happening year!
December 2007 archive
No Man's Land

And have moved another inch forward in any of the above projects? You guessed it right...

Our planners are still deeply embedded in thoughts as to how to implement the Cochin Metro Rail proposal. The city keeps swelling, clogging the stenosed vessels in its system and there is still no light at the end of this year for this aspiring metropolis. Vizhinjam seemed to be raising the adrenaline for the poignant development aspirers, but its all back to square one for the landmark port project. Technocity has run into the 'recession' waters and its almost sure that the ground wont break at Pallipuram and locales this year. Kannur Airport? Huh, you must be joking...

And oh, the sheikhs who left after the 'stone laying' for Smart City is yet to return, after 365 days...

Same story with the Highway and Rail development, MEMU Services, IT development, Trivandrum Road Development works and all others. On a positive note, nevertheless, Trivandrum Airport Terminal, Vallarpadam Port and a couple of educational institution projects have made appreciable progress...

The Communist Govt will soon be observing its 3rd year in office, and the only good thing they've done last year was to crack down on some petty fraudsters and demo-Gods like Sabarinath & Santhosh Madhavan. The old VS-Pinarayi mudslinging ceased for good, and Karunakaran's barefaced return to his so-called tharavadu was the biggest joke of the year.

Our much hyped up CM Mr. V.S exhibited remarkable mellowness to keep his mouth shut most times, but he opened it to his doom in those infamous 'dog remarks' and paid the price for the loose talk.

Politics aside, there still seems no way out for Kerala to get out of the mess. 2009 is going to be the most unwelcome year in the past 100 years as the global money machines and job factories are slowly grinding to a halt. Kerala has started to feel the ripple effects and our leaders seems to be devoid of the spinal and cerebral systems to see whats coming...

Sometimes I wish we were all living inside the Matrix... Too easy no?


Wednesday, December 17

I'm Green today!

"Green" appears to have become the most alluring term in our life at present.

There is a kind of frenzy towards turning everything into 'green', be it the house you live in or the office you work or the car you drive or even the food you eat...everything is turning, not literally.

"Going green" or simply, changing to a more environmentally friendly way has become an obligatory response from a jittery world to the most alarming and realistic science fiction of our times: the global warming.

When the West as well as the affluent Asian economies are arming themselves well for this potentially catastrophic mutation of our climate, India appeared insular to the changes happening around us. But slowly but surely things have started moving. And surprisingly Kerala has responded pretty well to the need of the hour.

Last week one of the major real estate developers in Kerala, the Skyline Foundations, launched their first green apartment complex in Trivandrum. The commendable step taken by the leading developer is expected to be adopted by the whole industry.

The planners, architects and developers aim for the sustainable design of development by encompassing the following elements:
  • Use of Green, renewable or recyclable building materials.
  • Maximum energy efficiency and
  • Reducing the wastage of energy, water and materials during construction as well as when the building is operational.
Although this sustainable development concept is an entirely new concept in the Kerala residential arena, it is not greek to the commercial development sector. The new u/c terminal of Trivandrum International Airport has incorporated some of the green features in a modest yet elegant manner. Wipro Campus at Cochin and the TCS Trivandrum facility are the two biggies in the Corporate world to show the way.

Wipro Cochin campus

A green building will save 20-30% on energy bills and uses 50% less water when compared to contemporary buildings. So while it made perfect sense for the commercial structures to embrace green, the apartment builders were hugely reluctant to nod to the idea. There would be a 10-20% increase in costs for a green home and builders were reluctant to pass on the increased load to the customers. The advantages would not be easily digested by the buyers and model was at risk of rejection.

But initial response to the Skyline project indicated otherwise, and building green in Kerala is all set to take off!

SFS Grande, the first green apartment in Kerala

The Govt is expected to take two steps forward by formulating more stringent laws in making 'green' mandatory. Kerala has already taken vital measures in sustainable development by promoting rain water harvesting and waste management. Public awareness and education on the benefits and necessity of environmentally friendly development is essential. State and Central agencies to inspect, certify and rate the nature of development, something on the lines of LEED, should be envisaged. States like West Bengal has already enforced stricter laws making green rating mandatory.

Experts in the field are recommending tax incentives and relaxations in certain building norms for certified green buildings. Going taller is another option, leaving more spaces open & green. Highrise apartment culture has invaded even the smaller Kerala towns and now its awaiting another inevitable revolution: the 'Green' revolution...

Components of a Green building

So "taller and greener" appears to be the motto for the future. Kerala's topography, lifestyle and demographic pattern, in fact, augurs for such a style of development.

Global warming is a serious problem, and we may already be too late to stitch the rug. But the cost of doing nothing now may land us up in zero degree without even that piece of cloth.

Afterall its a virtue to practice providence.


Sunday, December 14

Moving on...

Today marks the completion of the first year of my blogging experiments..:)

So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the friends, and foes of this blog who took time to read, appreciate, ridicule, encourage and bash my takings on the social conundrum we find ourselves in.

Looking back, I regret in not being able to dedicate more time to this space and on missing out to put my thoughts into words on many relevant issues.

At the same time I dont feel missed out in sharing the space with some of the young, spirited and talented youth in the Indian blogosphere.

Looking forward in general, its safe to say that blogs have come a long way forward in competing neck to neck with the imperious and influential media folk, and surely as an arena to see honest, simple, straightforward and power-packed observations.

So merci, madames et messieurs, and keep visiting.

Special thanks to Nikhil Narayanan for facilitating the featuring of Celluloid and behind Part I and II on Desipundit and on to Reuters India, which remains the most read post in No Man's Land upto date.