Some top priorities for the progress of Kerala
Kerala is a small state of India which has many advantages and limitations in developing it with the fast growing demand on the various sectors.
The high density of population,limited vacant land for infrastructure development,want of labourers in the skilled and unskilled groups,large number of educated youths waiting for lucrative whitecollar jobs,shortage of agricultural land etc are some challenging tasks to be handled carefully.
The availability of large number of educated and well informed people with vast experience in several fields,the presence of a long stretch of lakes and rivers along the length and breadth of the state,presence of several places of rare natural beauty both in the coastal and hilly parts of the state,easy accessibility across the state by land and sea ,the absence of extreme climates etc are some rare advantages for Kerala.
By reckoning these contradictory factors a suitable action plan should be framed ,discussed by expers without any prejudices and then implemented.There should be no room for politics ,communal factors or personal interests.
In my humble opinion the top priority should be given to the transport sector.The existing road transport system is quite inadequate to handle the movement of people and goods across the state especially when ours is a consumer state.We depend on many other states for almost all the items consumed by us.Rice,oil,sugar,vegetables,fruits,flowers,cement,steel,sanitary items,electronic and electrical goods,automobile components,cosmetics,textiles,paper,machinery goods,sanitary items,most cereals ,and grains,etc .Hundreds of trucks and wagons carry these goods from other parts of India towards our tiny state.
lnland water transport
In most cases this movement of goods can be done along the sea and lakes and rivers.This will lead to saving of costs as water transportation is the cheapest.The use of containers will help to move goods even during rainy seasons without any damage .Also the atmospheric pollution can be minimized.Traffic blocks can be minimized and road traffic wiil be made much faster.People who work abroad will not miss their flights and lose their jobs in the workplaces abroad.I have heard of several such incidents.Youth can attend interviews on time,and employees can reach their work places punctually.Tourists need not curse the road blocks and can complete their itinary as scheduled.This will make them visit our beautiful land again and persuade their friends also to visit Kerala.Thus tourism will get a strong boost thus multiplying our foreign exchange revenues.Many people can find good employment through this sector.
North-South Express Highway
My next priority is on the highway development.Though we may not be able to widen all the roads in Kerala,there has to be a highway which connects the extreme north and extreme south covering the minimum distance.From these highways people can travel to neighbouring towns or villages by other roads.The highway should have a width of 100 metres .No construction should be allowed within a distance of 75 meters from the centre of the road.People don’t use these highways for shopping, but for fast and safe driving.For shopping they will goto the nearest towns.No hoardings should be permitted along these highways.A suitable alignment should be fixed by experts and in no way should it be modified. If the government is sincere about this, people will contribute liberally towards a dedicated fund set up for its implementation.In a state where political parties are raising crores through bucket collections for conducting their conventions along our highways preventing the very donors of these funds from having a hazardless journey,there willnot be any difficulty in funding this project partly.Long term loans from international funding agencies should be sought for this urgent project.The work should be implemented by companies with proven track record.
The development of the expresshighway and inland water transport wii ,by itself lead to a heavy inflow of both domestic and foreign tourists to our state.The government should give licenses to agencies to work as tourism promoters.A list of such promoters should be displayed in the state tourism promotion head office and also in the district offices.This will ensure that the tourists are provided good stay and journey facilities.The district offices can register homestays and hostels who are willing to provide facilities to the visiting dignitaries.Such firms should have trained personnel in their service.The required training should be given by the tourism dept. which should establish a training school for this.If these basic facilities are provided,Kerala will be the most sought after state in India by tourists.The greenary,huge trees of various type and running rivers are not combined in any other place we have visited.We have to cash in on that strength.
Already we are very much advanced in this field.Tourists should be properly informed about the people in the various places whom they should contact in case of any difficulties including threats from antisocial elements.In case such complaints are received drastic remedial action should be taken. A group of police officers can be given additional charge for hearing and solving such complaints .There are many graduates and post graduates and even technical graduates in our police force.Their services could be utilized for this noble cause.They should be given mobile phones and the number for calling them should be available in the district tourism offices.
Here also we are in a much advanced position.But the government should act as a catalyst in the development of the IT field.As far as possible,the new IT hubs should come up in places with low population densities.The IT companies can establish their firms with a low capital so that they can spend more in providind better facilities to their clients.The employees also can live in comfort.With the North-South highway and good interior roads travel will pause no problem for them.The village economy will get a boost also.
But the moot point is,will our politicians who all claim as champions of the people’s right,allow this to happen?They can give any number of excuses for jeopardizing the common man’s lifeby protests,hartals,bandhs road blocks etc but their basic responsibility is for providing a cleaner,safer and happy life to the people who vote them to power.