Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kerala This Week, Ver 4.01, 2009

Imagine this. If you look at most of the project announcements in Kerala, you can see a pattern. First build a hype around a project (of course, most of them are genuine and much needed for the state to progress) and then assign a consultant to study the feasibility for a few hundred crores. Then form an governmental agency, which sounds like FINKLE, KINRA, TINKA, DINKA, KELTA, ALKEL, VIZ, BIZ, KRIPPLE, etc., to co-ordinate the project with the contracting companies. The agency in all likelihood is powered by a politician and includes his pals in the board, usually with a dummy to head it. The agency then issues a few press releases and ads on the project along with tenders.

A site of several hundred acres is identified for the project (despite the fact that there is not enough land in Kerala!!). What we dont know is that before the site is announced publicly, the friends and benamis buy the land in and around all these areas. Afterwards the project is announced and a company is awarded the contract, possibly after a few rounds of kickbacks. The prices of the land around the site gets inflated, but people think it is a lottery, and buy the land thinking that once the project materializes, the land will be an asset for them. The project then gets tangled in several legal, political, and environmental messes since nobody cares about it anymore.

Some years ago, it was announced with much hoohaa, with our ministers and local leaders rampaging to get in front of the camera, that the 35th national games will be held in Trivandrum. Hundreds of crores of rupees were announced as "funds" to prepare for the cities (mainly the capital city) and towns for the event. A few weeks ago, the consultants who came for evaluating the states preparedness got a taste of the state of our state. A consultant fell from the roof of the capital's prized indoor stadium and died instantly while inspecting it. As for the other stadiums, most of them are used for party meetings and sangams, which is the biggest activity in our state. But that doesnt stop our comedians from announcing bigger dreams and siphoning off more funds.

When our present rulers came into power, the first thing they did was release hundreds of friendly murderers, goons and thieves from jails all over the state. Now that they have done their job well and people are literally looted and beaten up, and the next elections are coming soon, the de-nerved (right from the spine) police has been asked to bring them back home, as if to show they have done such a wonderful job of it all. Little wonder then if the jails are saying "We are Full". But little do they know that we know who the real thieves are. Isnt that why our people coined the phrase "kallan kappalil" (translates almost into "thieves are in power in Kerala").

So let us not even get into the scams and prosecution imbroglios, fast spreading dengue/ chikungunya/ flu fevers in Kerala, and other such routine stuff. More interesting was to note that the monsoon has hit Kerala, and to coincide with it, the KSEB started maintenance work of its power generators in Idukki, the PWD and road authorities announced road repair and new road works, the inland waterway committee is meeting (not sure for what), the union leaders have agreed to let farmers use machines to reap whats left of the harvest, temporarily (until the floods pass and the next harvest) and someone said theres an airstrip being considered in munnar, kottayam, kollam, thrissur, wayanad, and tiruvalla. All international.

Let us see what happens after the rain.

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