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Thursday, June 25

Land of no returns

When I christened my weblog "No Man's Land", it was actually meant in a dysphemic sense. How things are spanning out in Kerala kind of concur to the real meaning of the term. Kerala is turning out to be a classic oxymoron.

The amazing consistency in which Keralaites kill off the geese with golden eggs baffles me. In a land where industrial productivity is close to the null factor, any trickle of investments cropping up are destined to vaporize in a matter of months.

Kerala, perhaps will be the state with the maximum no of paper tigers in the shape of investment proposals. All of them either condemned to be still born or subject to an eternal gestation period. Here is the roll...

Project: Smart City
Conceived: 2004
Location: Cochin
Type: IT Park
Job opportunities: 90,000
Area: 400 acres
Developer: TECOM, Dubai
Status: Dead
Credits: the cat n mouse game and groupism in the current LDF Govt.

Tagline: It is getting clearer that this is a case of the fence stealing its own produce. The whole blame lies on the Chief Minister and his handling of the IT Dept. It was all mumbo-jumbo all the way down and the sheikhs have packed their bags, for good. Pinarayi won, Achumama lost, but whose loss is it eventually?? The other Smart City in Malta is well on way to completion. Did I hear the R-word?

Project: Technocity
Conceived: 2003
Location: Trivandrum
Type: IT Park
Job opportunities: 2,00,000
Area: 500 acres
Developer: nobody
Status: on paper for the past 5 years. Land acquisition still not over.
Credits: Efficiency of IT Dept headed by the inutile CM. Not able to pool the land even after 3 long years.

Tagline: ok, blame it on the recession, but where is the land for development? No infrastructure constructed yet, and the Govt still haven't a clue about the no: of families which need to be evicted.

Project: Vizhinjam Port
Conceived: 1960
Location: Trivandrum
Type: Port project
Area: 2000 acres
Job opportunities: 2,00,000
Developer: This project has the unique credits of 2 developers embroiled in a cat fight for the construction rights. We all knew where this was heading, didn't we?
Status: Almost dead, awaiting resuscitation
Credits: The regional foulplays, filthy lobbying and legal-bureaucratic tangles.

Tagline: The worst debacle of them all...the latest casualty... The horoscope-changing project is all in doldrums now, courtesy some vested, regionalistic business interests. The project seems on its way back to the drawing board, and a huge whip to the development ambitions of Trivandrum and Kerala. This mentality of "only in my backyard" has virtually strangled a landmark project.

Project: Cochin Metro
Conceived: 2004
Location: Cochin
Type: Transport Infrastructure
Job opportunities: 1000
Developer: Unknown
Status: runs on paper, still no idea as to how the project is going to be implemented
Credits: Policymakers, NIMBY-ism along the proposed corridors

Tagline: No one appears to be sure what to do with this one. Files are flying between offices and by the time they settle it may well be 2020. As for Cochin, suffer for a few more years on the roads, that looks to be the fate.

Project: Kannur International Airport
Conceived: 2000
Location: Kannur
Type: Transport Infrastructure
Job opportunities: 2000
Developer: Not finalised
Status: vigorous paperworks undergoing. hopes to be stillborn sometime next decade.
Credits: thoughtful planners, politicians and associated real estate barons.

Tagline: Who is serious about this one when you have another Int'l airport barely 70 km south? Oh, when we are talking about paper tigers lets talk about Jumbo ones, shan't we?

Project: National Highway Development
Conceived: 1990s
Location: pan-Kerala
Type: Infrastructure development
Developer: Govt of India
Status: no sign of labour pain
Credits: The current CPM led Govt and their moth-eaten ideologies.

Tagline: When the whole nation was marching ahead with the Centrally sponsored project, Kerala commited the heinous act of wasting 2 precious years 'discussing' the toll-issue. A few 'policy' issues are yet to be sorted out. God save the commuters!

Project: Kerala Expressway Project
Conceived: 2000
Location: All Kerala
Type: Transport Infrastructure
Developer: hahahahahaaaaaa
Status: Project included in the PWD website, for a start.
Credits: a couple of leading dailies, political foulplay, poor marketing techniques, myopic administration and the infamous mallu skepticism

Tagline: Now there are talks about a North-South Road, not an expressway. It will be access controlled and 60m wide. Perhaps if you call a crow a swan its colour may change? How very communist-ic.. :chuckle:

Project: IIT
Conceived: 1990s
Location: not finalised
Area: 500-1000 acres
Type: Education & Research
Developer: Govt. of India
Status: vapourised
Credits: indecision on location, inefficiency of Govt

Tagline: Kerala featured in the primary list of possible locations a few years back. Again the regionalistic differences torpedoed another conerstone development, and the IITs proposed along with ours have started functioning. Lets hit the sack, comfy...

All this in a world where markets are evolving into highly competitive ones and moving towards the goal of self-sustainability. We toil for a better today so that our children could work, play and live in this beautiful land.. The question is how many generations could we afford to destroy?

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