It is high time for the Kerala Government to think of an ”out of the box” formula to bring development to the State. It is true that the present Chief Minister and few of his honest subordinates are trying their best to make Kerala an ‘investment friendly’ State. With pain I have noticed that it is an exercise in futile because our people believe in controversies rather than finding solution to any problem.
First of all, we will have to overlook the overall situation of Administration. Most of the Bureaucrats are “head weights”,pro-opposition or corrupt. Even if the CM or the concerned Minister order to review a petition from a common man, the Bureaucrats doesn’t heed to the demand of the Minister. They have their own unions or tribunals. Administrative Service Officers are attached to each Ministry to support and advise the Minister in taking proper and prompt decisions considering the merit of each case. Unfortunately they have become a class away from the common man.
They fail to understand the difficulties of middle and lower income public. Also it is a failure in the part of the Planning Commission,a group of Administrative Officers, to realize the need of a region rather than taking the entire country as a region for the sake of planning. To quote few examples we can debate about a recent statement of Mr.Monteksingh Aluwalia advising Keralites to forget about agriculture land and bring Industries to replace agriculture.
He doesn’t know that Keralites are not eating the white rice or wheat produced in other States. Also he doesn’t know that Keralites generally use only coconut oil for cooking. We can not substitute wheat or white rice for Kerala rice. We can not use sun flower oil in place of coconut oil. Also think about the fate of Keralites when trucks carrying vegetable loads from other States are blocked at the State boarder by some extremists for the sake of Mullaperiyar or some other reasons. Also take the case of joining all rivers in India. Can we afford to link our rivers to other States depriving of our vegetation and habitats? North Indian Administrators hardly understand the problems of our region.
Kerala is a State of controversies. Even before any project takes-off, controversies are instigated by opposition or media. Infrastructure development is the prime need of any region or State or the Country to sustain development. See the case of Malaysia. Once bankrupt, they erupted to a new revolution of infrastructure development. They took loans from other countries,built roads & bridges with latest technology,they brought International Companies to that country giving space ,electricity & tax concessions for few years. The Govt is collecting toll from those interested to use the Highways but none want to complaint because a journey by car for 10 hours was reduced to 4 hours.
They could save a lot of Foreign exchange by reducing the spending on imported fuel.After 5 years of”freebees”they started collecting taxes from Companies and the Country has evolved to self-sufficiency. Coming back to India, Mumbai’s Mohammed Ali Road near VT Railway Station to Dadar was so congested that a car took nearly 2 hours to travel a stretch of 15 Kms. They had no space to broaden the road. Hence they built two other roads on pillars constructed over the existing narrow road. When Kerala PWD Minister of erstwhile UDF Govt, Mr. Munir, brought the idea of a Highway from one end of Kerala to another end,many of our environmentalists rejected the proposal outright claiming that the Highway will break the heart of Kerala into two pieces.Even now we are unable to decide on a Highway connecting both ends. Why can’t we try the Mumbai model,a development without demolishing anything.
Also,the public who do not want to use the Highways must be spared of toll collection.They should not be forced to use the Highways by closing the service roads underneath.Kerala State is running short of Electricity due to the environmentalists.Our Athirappally and several other hydro-electrical projects are halted due to environment clearance. Environmentalists claim that “SIMHAVALAN MONKEYS”living in that few acres of forest land can not go elsewhere.There are thousands of acres of forest land adjacent to the proposed Dam and those monkeys will naturally shift their living space to those areas.If 500 acres of non-agricultural land is earmarked for a new airport,will the ecology of the State change?
The next problem is our union culture. Unions are there in all other states and countries. It is there to preserve the rights of workers and not to deny the rights of public. If I can unload my own load from a truck,why I should pay Nokkukooli or Attimarikooli to some onlookers? Recently the Military from Pangodu camp was forced to uplift their ration forcefully from FCI godown at Kollam since the Contactor was unable to pay the exorbitant rates of ‘Nokkukooli’.
Under the above circumstances,before taking the adventurous step of bringing investments to Kerala,the Government should think of bringing discipline to the Administrative Service officers, develop infrastructure using minimum space, promote agriculture with maximum subsidies so that the conveyance charges on agricultural and its allied products are reduced to minimum bringing relief to the common man.Also the Chief Minister,Ministers and the Administrators can concentrate on bringing relief to the grievances of the poor and needy.Why spend the valuable time & money of the Government on such futile attempts?