Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sleeping With The Enemy

Hectic schedule for Singh in Kerala

25 January, 2006: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh starts a whirlwind tour of Kerala on February 3 during which he will inaugurate new ventures and lay the foundation stones for a spate of projects.

On February 3 Singh will lay the foundation stones for two major projects - an expansion programme of the Trivandrum international airport and the Vizhinjam port project.
Next on his hectic schedule will be a visit to Kollam to inaugurate the expansion programme at the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd.

He will then leave for Kochi to inaugurate the first global education conference and also the liquid natural gas (LNG) project.

Singh will travel to Thrissur, the cultural capital of the state, the next day to inaugurate a festival at the Kerala Kalamandalam.

Before leaving for Delhi from Kozhikode, the prime minister will also lay the foundation stone for an eco-city tourism project.

Kerala technopark to get 1 mn sq ft area more

Friday, January 27, 2006: A record one million square feet of built-up area is to be added in '06 to the Technopark campus on the outskirts of city. About Rs 4 billion has already been invested in the existing 1.5 million sq ft built-up area which houses 91 companies providing direct employment to more than 10,000 people.

"On Feb 9, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is laying the foundation for the building of Mumbai hotel major Leela Hotels which will contribute a 400,000 sq ft built-up area on a two-acre piece of land," Technopark CEO VJ Jayakumar said. Leela Group is investing Rs 600 million in the building which it will hand over to IT companies. The building will be ready this year itself.

Chinese partners of Vizhinjam project wait for political nod

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN 24: Political nod for Chinese partners is all that Rs 4360-crore Vizhinjam project, set to be world's deepest container terminal, now waits for. Not counting the Mumbai-based Zoom Developers, all BOT (build, operate and transfer) partners in the consortium identified for awarding the tender are Chinese.

Construction is expected to start in six months, after technicalities are cleared, he told a press conference. The Rs 1850-crore Phase-I is to be completed in five years. The Rs 990-crore Phase-II is to be completed by the tenth year and Rs 1570-crore to be invested in Phase-III. >>>>>>>>>>

Carrying on with his good work, Chief Minister Ommen Chandy is ensuring that all the projects and investments that he proposed are getting implemented, and is not "just on paper" as the Opposition claims. Given one more term, we will see him transform Kerala into a proactive and progressive state with such initiatives. Not only do we have a great visionary as the CM, but also, for a change, a CM who is accessible 24 x 7, not bothered about petty politics, has some culture and education and has balls to stand up to his decisions - all qualities thus far not seen in other CMs.

There has been allegations, mostly by people owing allegiance to the Leftists, that his office is corrupt and takes bribes in mega-deals. I know, from genuine and reliable sources, that he is one of the cleanest politicians Kerala has ever seen and he does NOT take personal favors in any way. And even if his party men took some money as election fund, I do not see anything wrong in it. He is not eating the money himself, and obviously no party can survive in the present day without funding. And most importantly, the Congress is ensuring the development of the state first, creating employment first, eradicating hunger first and then (if at all these allegations are true) ensuring the survival of the party; as compared to the Left party who wont let anyone else progress but only their 4000 crore empire. Even in cases such as the SNC-Lavalin deal, the Left leaders allegedly ate away more than 40 crores in a deal that saw no visible growth or establishment for the state. So we have no reason to complain!

Now let us see some of the above projects signed by the OC government in one year :

The Vizhinjam International Port project is definitely one of the biggest landmark deals not only for the state, but for the nation. When completed, it will be the worlds largest ports with a natural depth of 24 metres, unmatched elsewhere. Even with dredging ports such as Colombo, Bombay and Dubai have a depth lesser than that. Secondly, the port is only 10 nautical miles from the international shipping routes. Currently, the large ships or vessels are unable to dock in India and hence they dock in Dubai, Colombo or Singapore and the cargo is brought to Indian ports in medium sized ships. With this new port, the world's largest ships will also be able to directly dock in India!.

To make a comparison, all the existing Indian ports together had in the last fiscal handled 4.3 million TEU. The Vizhinjam port is expected to handle 4.1 million TEU per fiscal when commissioned!

The Technopark in Trivandrum was the first Techpark in India and was established in 1990, way before Bangalore wrote IT history. But thanks to the laid back attitude of Kerala-Keralites, and fuelled by the petty Leftist trade unions (who by the way want to ensure Unions enter IT industry too to protect women!!), Technopark remained as it was in 1990 for almost a decade. Now thanks to the IT economy brought forward by Bangalore and the present OC government making sense of it all, there is a resurgence in Technopark and its potential.

OC not only has put back Technopark expansion back on track, but went one step further and envisioned the Smart City Project in Cochin, which will be Kerala's second mega IT project. Even here, the opposition has been alleging baseless scandals and trying to scuttle the project. I just cant understand how idiotic people can be!

The Technopark and The Smart City Projects will be worth over 60,000 direct jobs, bringing in an investment of over 5000 crores to the state!

Now a few projects scuttled by the illustrious and so called "responsible" Leftists of Kerala as well as some wily politicians within the ruling government:

Kerala Expressway: The 507-km long, four-lane `access controlled high speed corridor' was aimed at connecting Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram. Travel time from one end to the other will be less than six hours as against the present 12-15 hours. Throughout its length, there will be only 19 entry points into the highway, which will entail an estimated investment of over Rs 6,500 crore. For any nation to develop, road infrastructure is the most important aspect- America developed its roads before its economy started picking up. A noted industrialist said that the returns of such infrastructure development is a minimum 6x to the state - do your math. But there were a few like CPI leaders Veliyam Bhargavan, Pinarayai Vijayan, DICK head ( i mean, leader) Muralidharan, who haven't gone to school and hence could not multiply; and thus opposed the project. As of now the project is on hold.

Air Craft Maintainence Facility: worth Rs.1100 crores which was proposed by Pratt & Whitney in partnership with Keltech, Trivandrum (which by the way has been another malnourished PSU in Kerala, falling sick and doing well alternately with repeated union infections). The deal would have seen Kerala being a hub for aircraft maintainence and catapulted industrial development in the state. Even short sighted people saw it as a great project, and long sight showed that it was not just the project - but the indirect growth such a facility would have provided in terms of jobs, other supporting industries, training schools, air traffic. As of now, Pratt & Whitney are thanking their stars they didn't enter the land of the commies.

There are plenty more projects worth thousands of crores, but I am already frustrated calculating the loss. Hence I will leave you with two extra-ordinary incidents that give you insight into the average Keralite minds.

Circa 1970: A young lad, after his class at engineering college in Trivandrum, was going back to his home in Central Kerala for the weekend. On the way, his bus was stopped at a "public function" by a local politician in Kottayam. And he was forced to listen to the "public" function. The "leader" was demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister as the CM was neglecting the development of Kottayam. In front of a massive, enthralled audience our man blared " Trivandrum has a beach!!! Cochin has a beach!!! why..even Calicut has a beach!! But Kottayam does not have a beach!! I demand that the Chief Minister stop this neglect towards Kottayam or he resign!!"

If you know the geography of Kerala, you will know why I demand only educated people should be allowed to elections, and not illiterates like the above.

Anyway, according to the now grown up lad - my dad, in the next election, true to our sensible and literate electorate, that politician was duly elected to the state assembly from Kottayam. If you are still wondering, Kottayam does not have a beach still - because it is nowhere near the coast. And apparently when the leader said beach, he really meant an airport!!

Circa 2003: There was a proposal by the honorable Prime Minister to set up an IIT in "100% literate" Kerala, which truly deserved one according to him, either by setting up a new campus or by upgrading one of the existing engineering colleges. Soon the government decided that in already land famished Kerala, setting up a new campus will involve more strikes and protests than the state can afford; and hence shortlisted a few institutions for upgradation. Among them were College of Engineering, CET in Trivandrum and CUSAT, in Cochin. And strangely enough, this sparked off an almost violent debate in Kerala the theme of which was Cochin vs Trivandrum. And add to it, a very unique and absurd theory supported by most people in Kerala as I could find out - "we do not want an IIT in Kerala!!! if an IIT comes in Kerala, it will be through upgradation of CET or CUSAT - and it is not in the interest of Kerala. Because if it is an IIT, the selection process will be through the Common Admission Test (CAT) which is a national level competitive entrance test, which our "poor buoyes and gyerls" wont be able to effectively we lose the 100 odd seats we have in these colleges. So we dont need an IIT, and the CM should resign and the PM apologise" do you debate such a theory?? I mean, the many advantages (like raising the standard of education in Kerala, our youth getting better education, having a cleaner education system and environment reflecting the standards of an IIT to name a few) simply vanish in front of such arguments - atleast in Kerala it does.

As of now, the PM is licking his burnt fingers (look out for the small bandage on his finger when he visits Kerala) over the issue and thinking of a census to re-assess the 100% literacy status accorded to Kerala.

So what we must realise is, that most of the time, the enemy is within ourselves, and among ourselves.

Now for some even more exciting stuff - excerpts from various Kerala oriented forums. But since this post has over-rided its quota, way past the length an average blogger can concentrate, I shall continue in another post. Coming Soon!


quills said...

Very interesting post and well written! Truly an eye opener to the fact that we have such an educated and responsible CM. Hope Keralites realize this and come to their senses this election to support OC.

Alas we also have plenty of selfish, "do others no good if it ain't benefiting me" kind of "nethavs" who with their fiery speeches(but flawed reasoning)succeed in persuading the common folk to rise in arms and bring down whatever developmental initiatives the state takes on. I agree with Mr.PM that its time for another survey to really figure out if we are cent percent literate after all!! And anyway what good does it do if we can read but we cannot think clearly!!!

silverine said...

I think Ommen Chandy should get enough time to turn Kerala around. Maybe development will change the Keralite mindset, which is exactly what the left doesn't want. We can't survive on tourism forever. Kerala needs to come out of its splendid isolation.

Mind Curry said...

@ quills - like i said in my first post, for some reason the keralites enjoy being the donkey when it comes to politics.

@ silverine - what our prime minster said about nations hold true for all keralites - "lose the beggar-thy-neighbour attitude". as you said, development is the only way the mindset can change - because with development keralites will have exposure to other cultures and people of various walks of life.

Babin said...

I feel we should create a separate blog dedicated to the reelection of chandy( even though it seems very unlikely at this point) . it is very sad to see his extraordinary political talent is unappreciated and unnoticed in the popular media.

Mind Curry said...

@ babin - yes, we have to find a way to drive sensible opinions based on facts into the society. probably once we have enough support online, if not offline, we can think in that direction.

Anonymous said...

..can be followers but not at to this extent...

reading these comments one should wonder OC is the one CM who will make Kerala, Dubai? or Singapore? All of the bloggers are simply carried away by materly tricks or just gimmics..Look at Maharashtra or Karnataka or Gujarat the so called richest states in India....are they any way near Kerala in social devlopment? The biggest asset of Kerala is the education of people and their ability to judge matters based on facts and figures and not based on "statistics". Think you will have answer...if you still belive OC is the biggest asset...jesus save these kids.

Mind Curry said...

@ anonymous - whether you like it or not, OC has done substantial and effective things for the development of kerala. social development is the only aspect when you talk of a state or nation. and even socially we have seen how women are treated by men in kerala. so there is nothing really to rejoice and get laid back - like the communists do - while praying the gulf money will continue to flow. we all better get a job soon.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Good stuff, Thanks much!
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