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Sunday, June 13

Granites galore!

Attention Keralaites! The year of the 'stone' has begun in Kerala. Just after the celebration of an unprecedented 4 years in office, Chief Minister Comrade Achuthanandan and collegues have kick started a nomadic state-trotting with a spree of inaugurations and foundation stone laying pan-Kerala. Yakkooo...At this rate the busybody ministers will be totally exasperated and the sculptors will have blisters on their palms by early 2011.

Not funny, but the CM's driver is on a well-deserved sickness leave, courtesy H1N1.

Comrade Achuthanandan and his PR Dept surely must've had a real hard time formatting the media ads to herald the 'achievements' of the Govt. Apart from the CM's smiling face, the artifact commie symbol and the corresponding Minister-in-charge, there was nothing significant to fill the page for many portfolios.

Minister Vijayakumar laid the second foundation stone (on top of the one he laid in 2001) for the development of Kesavadasapuram- Nalanchira Road in the capital just the other day. This was just after taking a breath from Technocity foundation stone, Infopark Phase II foundation stone (remember, the Smart City stone which VS laid in 2006 is still somewhere around hidden beneath bushes), Vytilla Mobility hub stone, Cyberpark stone, and a plethora of other tactics fabricated to fool the public. I won't be surprised if a fresh granite is carved for Smart City, guessing by some of the recent statements from the CM. And as TRDCL works in the Capital near completion, the city may well be choked with a plethora of inaugurations very soon.

What has this Govt given the young and unemployed ever since V.S. over-ceremoniously took over from Chandy?

It's and easy, single-word: n-o-t-h-i-n-g!

A mere look back at the promises V.S made just after assuming the power now is all set to bite the man back. From naming the V.I.P in Kilirur case, locking up all criminals and goondas within 2 months, to claiming the Govt land back from land-grabbers, anything which V.S touched scalded his own hands and burned the butt of his party, be it the Munnar fiasco which he himself admitted as a flop, the Smart City or any other project which he initiated. VS must be a modern day Midas because anything he himself involved in, as well as the other ministers touched also seem to freeze instantaneously. Look at Shobha Hi-Tech City, Salarpuria Knowledge City, HDIL Cyber City, Kinaloor and whatever, they're all dead ducks.

Four years have gone by and the Govt is still at sea with the socially crucial Private Professional College issue. Every year we hear some announcements and statements from the minister-in-charge which turn out to be mere lines drawn on water.

Lately, the Centrally-sponsored multi-million project of developing the TS Canal and connecting it to the National Waterway in Kollam has lapsed because those concerned never bothered to do their work. I don't see any minister or official worried about it, a project which could have hugely beneficial to thousands of ordinary people, apart from giving a major boost to the economy of the state. The national and local media reported the incessant lapse of funds many times, and in the end 2000 crores went unutilised. Who is responsible? 

The less we speak about the Highway Development saga unfolding, the better. We have lost 4 years purely due to the tomfoolery of V.S and his party ideologies, and it is almost certain that the ongoing 30m-45m dilly-dally will see the crucial project won't begin this year. And if the Congress Govt assumes power next time, the Commies are sure to let out the goons and gangs loose against land acquisition. I'd bet my house on that.

3.75 crore Keralites will lose out but why bother? Everyday 7 precious lives are lost on our highway alters, 2 dozens mutilated or handicapped but who cares? The rotten teeter-board politics we practice in this state will take us to the dooms.

CPM's backpedal on the ADB loan, Coca-cola, Expressway project, Smart City,  Professional College issue etc has underlined one fact. The Communist parties infest Kerala only to fudge out their slow poison into this land. Nobody at AKG Center or AKG Bhavan is genuinely bothered about the development or future of the state, they're ready to play any dirty games in the name of pseudo-socialism, just to gain political mileage.

Industrial development has almost come to a standstill in the state. That's not surprising at all. The Govt still speaks about PSUs and traditional industries like coir, fisheries and co as saviours. Oh c'mon, you want all the graduated, unemployed youth out of those colleges go out to open sea and start fishing?  The only other viable option I see (apart from escaping to Bangalore or Gelf) is joining the 'Quotation Gangs' which have expanded into thriving livelihood options even in small towns and villages. May be this is what Darwin meant by 'survival of the fittest'.

The major initiatives like the Brahmos, BEML etc have purely been Central Govt initiatives. Same with the case of premier institutions like IIST, National Maritime University or IISER. Other major projects like Vallarpadom Container Terminal and the LNG Terminal are heading towards commissioning, also nothing for the LDF Govt to lay hands on. Achuthanandan Govt has little to claim when it comes to new initiatives in any front in the state. Though the regime has been working honest and hard to get Vizhinjam Port off the mark, it is still some time away from realization. But I'd bet again that the granite will be up vertical in Vizhinjam with all the names on it.

And in the coming few months we will see more and more heavyweight 'stones' being laid, my strong guesses lie with International Airports of Kannur, Aranmula, Kottayam and Idukki. Also spare a few granites for the IT Parks planned in all 200 taluks of the state, also please don't forget to put one for Cochin Metro before you leave. Shall I also suggest some stones and ribbon-cutting for some bridges, roads, parks, sulabh toilets, health centers, bus shelters, traffic signals and fish markets. Anyone with a  knows that it will be all like stones in the water. The ship will go down.

How strikingly different has been the CM Achutanandan from the robust and revolting Opposition Leader we all knew! Pinarayi and team managed to tame the wild lion into a pussycat. But V.S has managed to hang on, we should give him that. He has manged what he always yearned for: to sit in that reverent chair on the III floor, North Block, Secretariat. But the important question is how did it benefit us Keralites?

Our politicians may not realize, or may not want to accept that the sand is slowly draining from under our feet. With virtually no sources of income being found for day-to-day chores, how long can Kerala afford to crawl? When other states are marching ahead with hundreds of job opportunities created every month, we're still boasting about the cliched Kerala-model. Migration and associated remittances from abroad have ensured that Kerala society doesn't crumble and fall into a state of civil-unrest. GoK plans to suck dry the NRI tits for its survival and has no back-up plans to set the foundations strong and straight.

This leaves us in a very precarious situation where Kerala State doesn't have a penny for social welfare, road works, water supply or poverty eradication projects without the burden of loans from foreign banks or begging in front of the Center. Remember the situation in 2001 when E.K Nayanar left the chair to A.K.Antony without a nickel in the treasury. Well, Achumama may well step down leaving us deep and buried.

For me the biggest achievements of the current LDF regime was that both Kairali TV and Deshabhimani  could build their multi-crore headquarters in the prime-most locales of Trivandrum city.

Kairali Towers, close to MLA Quarters, Trivandrum

So even for the staunchest commie supporter the previous 4 years will not have much to dance around about. Perhaps we will see the CM laugh again after the 2011 Assembly polls the same way he famously laughed after the 2009 Parliament results. Its not long away dear CM, you may better get all your stones carved out and set before the Code of Conduct is formally in place. Good luck! :-)

Images courtesy,, fotolia.

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