Wednesday, May 07, 2014

No More National Highways for Kerala!

After years of incessant protests demanding the reduction of the width of in-development stretches of National Highways in Kerala down to ridiculous extents, the National Highway Authority of India has finally given up on the State and abandoned the two pending stretches of road, Kazhakkoottam-Cherthala and Edapally-Kuttipuram.

Currently, the only stretch being tendered for 4-laning is from Kazhakkoottam-TN Border, where the final bid is due in June. Together with the completed stretches from Cherthala to Edapally and from there till Walayar, this will be the only stretches of 4-lane road in India's most densely populated State. A State where 35 Million people have one of the highest rates of car and two-wheeler ownership in India and where the entire NH system often resembles a State-wide traffic jam. This perennial gridlock results in massive losses to the State's economy and very significant, always tragic loss of life through thousands of road accidents and in the delay incurred in getting patients and accidents to hospitals because of the perennial traffic congestion.

Yet again, the State Government continues to wallow in its disastrous track record of infrastructure development, especially in any place outside the borders of the Ernakulam district. While it's been long overdue, the demise of highways in our State joins the growing pile of wreckage that includes Vizhinjam, the Trivandrum MRTS and assorted urban infrastructural projects - such as the trifling matter of the breakdown of solid waste management in the Capital city - across Kerala (except, of course, in Ernakulam!).

Kudoes to all the persistent anti-development activities (yes all of you protesting without knowing why or because you think your neighbor got a better deal than you did!), spineless politicians (for giving us that rarest of rare occurrences, a political consensus!) and to successive Governments who seem to have lost all sense of what constitutes public interest. Thanks for blowing up the issue out of all proportion, exaggerating the extent of land acquisition and displacement of people and for sharply polarizing the BOT debate. 

You have won, the rest of us, the whole of Kerala has lost!

RIP Development! (Yet again.....)

1 comment:

  1. Ajay, I can understand your state of mind, the one that I reached a long time back but I used to appreciate that you still had hope when I had none. And we need people who still believe just so that one day when the stars align there'll still be somebody who cares to work towards a better Trivandrum. And my mind runs back to the scene between Batman and Joker where the Joker believes he can break the humanity inside everybody and yet even against the odds, a convict shows his courage.

    Never Quit.. Keep up the fight!!


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