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Saturday, August 7

When will we learn?

Didn't you hear the news? It's been brewing, but Central Govt has at last cancelled the contracts awarded for the development of two stretches of National Highways passing through Kerala. Newsclip from Keralakaumudi (7 aug, 2010)

No need to ponder over the whys and hows, we all saw it coming. The frivolity going on in the state over the issues of width, toll and alignment has eventually and very expectedly comatosed the extremely crucial infrastructure development.

We are not born cynics or pessimists. Like in the Pandora's Box fable, 'hope' is the last thing we lose as a human being. In Kerala, you needn't look elsewhere to find out why people tend to lose hope in our system of administration. Cursed, we have some of the worst myopic, misplaced and uninspiring leaders unbecoming of a progressive society.

That is why when Mr. Nazuruddin, President of Kerala Vyapaari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, (KVVES, Union of Traders) who've been at the forefront of sabotaging the NH Development, said that there will be bloodshed if Govt stuck to the 45m plan, we have a Chief Minister and an Opposition Leader echoing the same fears. 

Please take a look at some of the responses articles on the paradoxical Kerala has elicited on this blog and on other sites.

The one striking feature of Kerala is that it does not think it has a problem . This is like trying to treat a patient who does not accept that he is ill. It will take a crisis to let the people know that they have been doing all things wrong. Just the way the Balance of payment crisis of 1991 forced the central government realize that they must change.
Our state has been extraordinarily lucky so far . Our neighboring states have been insulating us from our crumbling agriculture system leading us to a massive food price inflation. Other states and countries have helped us from making our our unemployment problem spiraling into a civil riot. A global credit bubble artificially boosted the price of our assets (property) which made our people wallow in a sense of false pride . An unprecedented boom in international tourism led us to believe that Kerala can be sold to tourists at any price while our infrastructure investment is a joke compared to other tourism economies. Our lack of higher educational institutions is made good by our neighboring states. Huge remittances from expatriate Keralites have saved our government from a fiscal collapse. The state must thanking the whole world for helping it from drowning into a huge cesspool of poverty and unemployment.
We need a crisis which can really dry up the revenue streams of all political parties before they loosen their clutches on the state. We badly need a fiscal crisis which will make our state realize that we are not so important to dictate terms to everyone who deal with us. We need a crisis which can badly impact the rich and poor alike which make them realize the need of 'real growth' and production.
I hope it happens sooner than later. 
- Noble Paul in God's own terrorists, Save Kerala Initiative (This, I must say is a very very realistic statement of the situation in modern day Kerala)

Kerala model has significantly suffered because of militant politics practiced by the political parties and religious right(?). The political parties and religious leaders are a mirror of the society. So I put the blame on common man. The common man in Kerala is much more aware of her/his rights than his counterpart in rest of India. But she or he is seldom aware of ones responsibilities. Kerala has achieved a great deal in obtaining the rights to common man, while it degraded in making sure of the fulfillment of the responsibilities by the common man.
 - Meera. J on The Kerala Model, Sepia Mutiny

Honestly, i have no sympathy for a population that votes for communists. Maybe the people of Kerala deserve the kind of pathetic govt they have got.
- Philip in Land of no returns, No Man's Land?

Reached back Trivandrum aftr a long 6 hrs travel through NH 47 with about 3659 holes.
- Janeesh. J from Twitter after his drive back from Cochin (220km away)

Earlier last month when IBM and Oracle was reported to be opening units in Technopark, Trivandrum, I happily tweeted the news to our MP Dr. Shashi Tharoor, enquiring if he would be able to use this scoop as a track to mull in similar companies to the city. Dr. Tharoor was kind enough to respond.

@scorpiogenius good to hear from u after a long time! Am trying indeed, with a variety of world-class firms. Not easy with Kerala's reputation  
- Shashi Tharoor from Twitter

'Kerala's reputation' which Dr. Tharoor has mentioned here is pretty much known to everyone. Our militant trade unions and their leaders, political parties and fringe groups which breed and thrive on archaic, discarded ideologies; a society which is insular, hypocritical, dogmatic and suspicious to even beneficial changes and which views businessmen and entrepreneurs as being evil and sinister; population who can't yet think beyond PSUs and Government Offices when it comes to jobs and expects roads, hospitals, airports and everything to be 'free' and ready at hand. With virtually no employment avenues been created except very minimally in the IT sector, and the perpetual media sidelining and nullifying whatever trickle of positive news coming out and rather more focused on trivia, Page 3 gossip and bluffs, there are clear, disturbing signs of the jobless, educated youth being attracted to anti-social and criminal groups and vulnerable to anti-national terrorist outfits.

Our society endorse organizations like the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi and fail to respond even if these fringe groups flex their muscles against the will of majority. We are over enthusiastic in killing off projects like Smart City, Vizhinjam and lately the NHDP through flimsy excuses and rotten political philosophies and foulplay for the vested interests of chosen few. We still allow ourselves to be tortured in the name of price rise, when 3 different political groups shut us down for 3 separate days for the same reason. We conveniently avoid looking at Singapore, Switzerland and Malaysia as a source to improve ourselves but pat ourselves on the back by looking down at the condition of Bihar, Orissa or Kashmir.

Coming back on the IBM/ Oracle news, a Technopark official went on record stating that Oracle was more interested in assessing the roads and other infrastructure around Technopark than any other parameters. That'd give me a scare when you consider the options you have to reach Technopark from the city: a 2-laned congested Bypass Road and the old Highway via Sreekaryam which boasts of Delhi-esque traffic snarls.

The traffic situation at the other IT hub, Cochin, better not be looked into.

Its the same old tale. There are very clear signs and symptoms Kerala... very clear signs that we are slowly being strangulated. The cyanosis in the peripheries will soon lead to a complete cardiac arrest.

Even with all these shortcomings we do hope that one day our state which boasts about being #1 in India numerically, reaches there realistically, and will be able to sustain the development.Only thing that we're begging to be taught the one lesson we miss badly.

The million dollar question is: When will we learn?

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