Sunday, September 9, 2012

Will Kerala emerge or submerge?

For the past three decades, Government of Kerala had nothing to flaunt in the sector of industry and agriculture. Most of the projects undertook ceased at the brink where they begun. The corporate companies were not ready for investment on a land where most of the days are strikes. 

A matter of joy

Here we see a new dawn. With the global connect event Emerging Kerala 2012 occurring from 12th September 2012 to 14th September 2012, hundreds of conglomerates are showing their interest to invest in God’s own country. This will surely execute many of the abandoned, yet aspired projects of the state. A few of them will be Kochi Metro Rail project, High Speed Rail Corridor, Vizhinjam International Deep Water Seaport, IIT Kottayam, Power plant projects and Electronic Parks. 

The fear 

However, the joy also raises a few concerns. When the state heads to a multinational investment hub, it shows an equal chance of being susceptible to few hazards. The major one is the environmental impact. 

Kerala, the land which is known for its scenic beauty can never take the risk of being a land of concrete masses. Hence, the projects that bring fortunes must be executed with care without harming the godly land, protecting every inch of greenery it possesses. A special care may be requested in the case of Cochin because it is a city with innumerable infrastructural developments every day and more are in the offing. It also faces the issue of improper waste management.  

Another foremost issue is about the land transaction. The state with a small area of 38, 863 km2 has to be careful from blindly selling its lands to investors. It is already reported that the land mafias have buckled their shoes. This has to be taken care before the issue gets worsened into a state of social exclusion.

As far as now, the Chief Minister Ummen Chandi has assured that no land will be sold and only providing land for leases are in consideration. Even if those are leases, they have to be clear cut on the papers according to the norms of the acts like the Land Reform Act and Forest Act of 1980. Transparency in the dealings is what is expected out of the Government in such cases. 

Beyond these lawful issues, the government needs to guarantee that no citizen gets affected in the whole process of implementation. With multinational projects coming up, millions have to be rehabilitated and sheltered. Many road side markets and make-shift businesses will get affected. Their right to live can never be ignored. Although no talks are sprung from the part of the Government about this, the issue has to be discussed and get accomplished rightly. 

Above all, the Government must be careful that the weakest sector in the state will not fall back in the race of development. Multinationals come up with products and lifestyles suitable for the middle classes and the upper classes of the state. The employment opportunities which they now highlight as a prime benefit for the state may only cater for a few sector of people. There are high possibilities for the farmers to get expropriated leaving them deprived. 

Beyond making currencies, the prime policy of a state is to ensure its citizens a quality life safeguarding their rights. Let us hope Government of Kerala will remember this while executing the projects through Emerging Kerala 2012, making the state emerging and not submerging. 

No comments: