Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kerala, Fast Forward - Kerala This Week, Vol 6, December 2007

The Christmas season seems to have changed the ruling communist government's luck drastically, and looks like the red brigade is all set to fly the good times (No, this has nothing to do with Kingfisher or Mallya). The maestros of the present ruling party seem to be hitting brainwaves after brainwaves. Now isnt that breaking news?

Until very recently the pack has been suffering repeated humiliation by trying to do things that really didnt match their qualifications or intelligence levels. ISRO land to Smart City (Smart! how ironic..), and National Highways to important industrial projects, humiliation has come in many forms to the current government. Unspent "development" grants, absurd project reports, unimplemented plans, depleting funds..and add to it the very slowly but steadily increasing number of unemployed party workers trying to find a job for themselves due to peer pressure from the "foreign" aka the Gulf and Bangalore aka the new America ("God, what has this world come to!, why are all these able-bodied men trying to employ can they be so disloyal to the party" - this was overheard at a recent party high-command meeting).

The only good thing for the government has been a totally sleepy and ineffective opposition, just making whimpers and whines occasionally. But all that changed over the last couple of weeks. Here are the brainwaves that topped the list:

Brainwave number 1: "Adopt Santa Claus as the official mascot of the red-brigade"

While there are many guesses as to why nobody thought of this idea until now (or did they?), it is almost certain that none of the present political leaders could think of something so intelligent. Large Santa cut-outs were seen outside a lot of communist party offices, merging with the Achuthanandan and Pinarayi cut-outs and the red flags.

Brainwave number 2: "Train Keralites to climb coconut trees and create an industrial revolution and economic boom"

Terming the UDF Government's decision to train monkeys to climb coconut trees as an attack on the common-man's right to livelihood, the government scrapped the policy since it unilaterally favored the monkeys and the bourgeois apes. Instead, the Government decided to set up a school to train malayalis to climb trees and pluck coconuts. In the wake of the economic boom riding on technology revolution and industrialization that requires education and soft-skills, the thought-leaders of the current government saw this as a perfect answer. Perfect reply rather.

This new policy will ensure that the party workers can climb trees during their free time (which is a lot since its their own party ruling the state and there is no real need for daily hartals), and come down immediately in the event of a sudden post-noon or evening hartal or strike call. The party also welcomed the decision and expected students from other states also to join this prestigious institution once it is open.

The school is expected to begin early in 2008, and initially two part-time (to suit the timings of busy party-workers) courses will be offered - a Post Graduate Diploma in Coconut Plucking (PGDCP) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Maram Keral (PGDMK). The prospectus says that the admissions will be purely on merit, and the candidates should have at least dropped out by Grade 10. Attendance below 50% in school, party work, destruction of public property, previous experience in related fields will be a plus. Trusted sources said the seats have been filled until 2009 already, and there is a proposal to grant the school a deemed university status.

Whats more heartening is that companies like the CPeye, INCee, CPeeM, DeyeC (K), RSPee, BJPee, IyouML and most other leading political business outfits have agreed to conduct campus-selection right from the first batch. And since the school will not require an actual campus, there is much cheer in the parties.

Brainwave number 3: "Make Monopoly the official game of Kerala"

This idea was kept highly confidential until very recently, although the present set of ministers and their associates were trained and made to practise the game every day before they assumed office. The results are evident from the Munnar and ISRO deals (or "debacles" as some folks with anti-common-man sentiments term them!). The government is fully into tearing down houses and hotels and taking over property (Munnar) and selling it elsewhere. This brainwave is the result of the sudden belief that all the land in Kerala belongs to the government. Its almost like one of the players in the game decided to become the bank and make his own rules.

Brainwave number 4: "Make alcohol the official drink of Kerala"

At a whopping 8.3 litres of alcohol per person a year (as per the latest stats), Keralites are the biggest drunkards in the country. And it shows.. in da house, in da street, in da work (what work?), in da movies..everywhere. And what better time to prove this than Christmas and New Years. The alcohol sales (minus the more commonly used illicit liquor) in Kerala just on Christmas eve supposedly crossed Rs 18.6 crore this year.

Brainwave number 5: "'Common-man' can make pirated CDs and use pirated software"

This idea was brought to the fore after officials from Microsoft, along with police officials, raided locations across the state and captured pirated versions of Windows software. In protest, the poor "common-man" organized hartals to protest against such actions that curb their right to earn illegally. After all its the government of the poor "windows-loving common-man" ruling the state, and the rest of the state needs to run only on Linux.

Brainwave number 6: "Keep all major projects in the 'feasibility study' and 'consultation' phase for as long as possible"

Be it Smart City project or the Vizhinjam Port, the government stumbled upon this wonderful brainwave by chance. They have now discovered the beauty of keeping all big developmental and employment-generating projects in a literal state of suspended animation. This is done by releasing press notes every couple of weeks on some such big project, and then doing nothing about it. A "6-lane road is going to developed in Kuttipuram", "1001 bridges and flyovers coming very soon", "Vizhinjam port will become a reality", "all districts will have tech-parks".. the list is endless. These occasional outbursts of publicity seem to be enough to fool the literate-but-literally-uneducated Keralite public and keep them dreaming of a better tomorrow, and to fool the common-man into thinking that participating in a hartal today will win their children bread tomorrow.

But reality is far from it. Vizhinjam port has been in the form of a tender for many years now, Kerala was thrown out of the highway projects (but apparently got back in with some sense prevailing somewhere), Smart City is yet to take off despite the deal being signed, and crores of rupees received as funds from various organizations for development and health care remain under-utilized or non-utilized due to the exceptional inefficiency of the state government (or their inability to understand logic or take educated and intelligent decisions).

Looks like we have lots to look forward to the next 3.5 years or so of this government. Can somebody please Fast Forward?.
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