It is now becoming more and more clear that in Kerala it’s not what is being done, but about who does it and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is now the “last word” when it comes to taking the state to “new heights” through major infrastructure projects.
In other words, it means when the CPI-M is in office, every project that they undertake is “good” for the state, but if the same project is taken up by the Congress, it “doesn’t benefit” the state, but only “those” who float it, is the “campaign” of the Left.
Ask two time former Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy about the development vision of the CPI-M and pat comes the answer, ” When I was the Finance Minister during 1991 in the K. Karunakaran cabinet, we tried to implement computerisation in a state-run financial agency, it was utter chaos and the CPI-M stood against it and broke everything that came in front of them. Today, Vijayan carries two laptops with him and this is their vision for development, which is, if they do, it’s good and when objections are raised, those who raise it are termed anti-nationals.”
Chandy during his first term just before it ended in 2006, got another taste of the “vision” of the CPI-M, when even after getting the green signal from the court to go ahead with the inking of the Kochi Smart City project with the UAE based Smart City, it decided to shelve it after fierce opposition from the CPI-M.
Soon recession set in and the IT scenario suffered reversals and, finally when the infrastructure was ready a decade later, when Chandy again was at the helm, the CPI-M used it as one of the election campaign issues and today no one speaks of it, though it has started to function.
Chandy says projects like the GAIL pipeline was “stalled” by the Left when he tried to take it forward, however after Vijayan took over in 2016, the project got “wings” and now Vijayan claims it as one of “their” achievements.
“But nothing is being heard on another major infrastructure project- Vizhinjam Container Terminal, as it has now gone beyond all deadlines, but Vijayan even now blames it on the Ockhi waves that lashed the proposed port four years back,” Chandy asserts.
Now the “buzz” word for Vijayan in infrastructure development is the proposed Silverline-K-Rail project, costing over Rs 60,000 crores, which if completed will set up a 529.45 km corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.
And on Tuesday, Vijayan was at his “best” and spoke “non-stop” for over an hour in front of the Kerala Governor’s official residence. He blamed the Centre and the Congress led Opposition for stalling it and gave minute details, which was more of a point by point rejoinder to Metroman E. Sreedharan, who last week said that the proposed K-Rail (Silver Line) project, as conceived, is totally “against” the interests of the state and termed it as an “idiotic” proposal.
Sreedharan using his vast experience in engineering said that this project would be the equivalent of a China Wall which will “divide” Kerala from North to South and cause “untold damage” to the environment.
But Vijayan using his vast political experience, (though not naming Sreedharan) dismissed the findings as it’s the perfect one, which will “not cause” any ecological or environment damage and instead when completed it will “propel” Kerala to new “realms of development”.
Vijayan said through this one can travel from the northern tip of the state to the southern tip in four hours. One should recall an Express highway project connecting the same places that was mooted in 2001, when A.K. Antony was the Chief Minister, which met with stiff resistance from the then Leader of Opposition and Communist veteran V.S. Achuthanandan.
Vijayan, who is determined to see the project takes off, has said that he will soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this project. At the same time both the Congress led UDF and the BJP led NDA are equally determined that this project will be the death knell for the state and they will see to it that this does not take off.
A media critic, on condition of anonymity, said, “While the CPI-M led Left when in power has the wherewithal to see they will put into practise what they want, unlike the Congress led UDF, which does not have the political acumen nor the will to go forward with projects, which they feel will benefit the state, fearing the Left’s campaign.”
“The machinery of the Left is the best and once their party gives the green signal to do anything, right from the grassroots to their topmost leaders speak in one voice and will do anything to convince the common man. While in the Congress, their leaders speak in different tones and hence they are unable to convince the people, even if the projects are good. The Congressmen should learn to remain united for a good cause, but unfortunately they have not been able to do it so far,” said the critic.