| Government| Society |

Kerala in the News - for Mostly Wrong Reasons

From misguided attempts at prohibition and moral policing to scams in higher education and declining development, things in Kerala have been taking a rather sordid turn and hitting headlines for all the wrong reasons. PN Venugopalrecapitulates some of the most recent developments.
lineimage

| Economy | Government|

The strange case of ICTT Vallarpadam

ICTT A PPP project, hailed as a milestone in logistic infrastructure development at the time of launch shows scant growth three years later, costing the Cochin Port trust dearly in the process. PN Venugopalthrows light on all that has gone wrong with it.
lineimage

Government

"Solar scam heat scorches Kerala"

Oommen Chandy Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has come under heavy fire after several of his personal aides have been found to have close links with a fraudster couple who have embezzled huge amounts of money out of investors. P N Venugopal provides a roundup of the sordid saga.
lineimage

Human Rights

"I try to hope that I will live again with Binayak in my lifetime"

Ilina Sen Dr Ilina Sen, well-known social activist and feminist scholar, who currently heads the Department of Women's Studies in Mahatma Gandhi University, Wardha, Maharashtra speaks in detail to M Suchitra about her husband's trial and her appeal to the Chhatisgarh High Court.
lineimage

Environment

Stadium in Deep Waters

cricketTHE Kerala Cricket Association's plan to build a stadium designed to international specifications at Edakochi has run afoul of environmental laws. M Suchitra reports.
lineimage

|Government|

For Whom the Forests Turn Red?

adivasi History has shown us that the remedy for red terror isn't white terror, or any other kind of terror. From Telengana onwards, whenever extreme Left ideology was suppressed violently, it has resurrected itself. But the Centre and the state governments have paid no attention to either the lessons of history or even their own reports. The Prime Minister repeatedly states that the Maoists are the gravest threat to the nation's internal security. The Home Minister proclaims that operations would be intensified to crush the Maoists. Whether the real purpose of the war is ensuring national security or furthering corporate interests, the ones who die are invariably the poor. When the government talks of intensifying the offensive, it means only that more security forces, more Maoists, more common people will get killed. M Suchitra
lineimage

Dalit

A Kerala land struggle is 'settled', questions remain

chengara Over 1400 families who had started living on the rubber plantation of Harrisons & Crossfields -- the Chengara struggle -- will now get land in a deal brokered by the Chief Minister in the presence of the Leader of the Opposition. P N Venugopal takes stock
lineimage

Adivasi

Trapped in Transition

Cholanaickan Cholanaickans are the only remaining tribe in Asia living in rock-cave shelters and they are the only surviving hunter-gatherer indigenous community in the country. The community is undergoing a conflict between its basic instincts and the beckoning calls of the outside world. M Suchitra reports
lineimage

Agriculture

Genetic roulette

Palliative care Jeffrey M Smith, an authority on genetically modified organisms and the author of Genetic Roulette, says that 65 health risks from GMOs provide irrefutable evidence. of harm. In this interview he explains why GM technology must be confined to the lab S Usha reports.
lineimage

Education

School textbook issue spirals into political row

The new class VII social science textbook in Kerala has become the cause of clashes. Groups agitating against the book allege its content is anti-religion, while the state curriculum board says it propagates religious tolerance. P N Venugopal reports on the controversy.
lineimage

Dalit

Landless and fighting, as ground beneath shifts

chengara Some sections in Kerala are already blaming the land reform law for hurting big industrial projects; meanwhile around 10,000 dalit and adivasi families are locked in a struggle for the original entitlements that never came, reports M Suchitra..
lineimage

Human Rights

Baba Amte: Restless and romantic

Baba Amte He was a zamindar by birth and a successful lawyer by training. He charmed and transformed generations of youth and propelled them into social and political activism. Baba Amte, who passed away last week, was a rare combination of sensitivity and courage, writes Ravindra R P.
lineimage

Livelihood

SEZ? Yes. Fisher Folk? Who Are They?

The proposed Coastal Zone Management notification, which is expected to replace the existing Coastal Regulation Zone notification (1991), will hit the coastline like a second tsunami, say activists. With the shifting of `zones', entire fishing communities will be moved out of coastal areas, making way for unbridled construction in the name of `development' P N Venugopal reports.
image

Adivasi

Lives Withering Away Like Driedup Trees

women taking pledge In Attapady block of Kerala's Palakkad district, illicit liquor is taking a heavy toll among the adviasis. Addiction to the brew has led to many deaths and suicides, even as a complacent and complicit administration looks on. M Suchitra. reports.
lineimage

Livelihood

Lives Strangulated by Needle and Thread

27-year-old Ratnamma, a garment factory worker, was forced to deliver a baby on the streets of Bangalore. 20-year-old Gayathri was run over by the bus belonging to the Bangalore garment factory where she worked. Garment workers in Bangalore are caught in an exploitative web, reports Padmalatha Ravi.
lineimage

Society

Forever Forsaken Forest People

Dr Yehuda Kovesh Dr Yehuda Kovesh from Melbourne, Australia is a Consultant Endocrinologist to the UmonHon among other tribes as well as Visiting Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Havana, Cuba. While on an Indian tour early this month, he visited the Athirappilly waterfall, 70 kms from Kochi. It is his experience with the Adivasis of the near by Vazhachal forest area.
lineimage

Environment

Kerala Re-assessing the Environment

Dr. Martin Kampchen An expert working group established to create a roadmap for the state's new independent Department of Environment has made recommendations to strengthen environmental conservation and protection. A number of state agencies, especially the Pollution Control Board, have come in for strong criticism. P N Venugopal reports.
image

Environment

Thirst Below Sea Level

kuttanad Despite being enriched by two monsoons and four rivers, Kerala's Kuttanad region has become `a desert of backwaters' after many developmental trials, says M Suchitra.
image

Education

Are New Teaching Methods Working?

image Efforts to make learning more interactive and more fun for students appear promising, but it may be too soon to judge if they are positively impacting children's performance in standard tests and surveys. Meanwhile, teachers complain that these efforts have added to their already heavy burden. Padmalatha Ravi reports.
image

Human Rights

Fight For Rights: Irene Fernandez.

Irene Fernandez - IRENE FERNANDEZ, winner of the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (the Alternate Nobel Prize) was in Kochi recently. Daughter of pre-World War II migrant Malayalee parents, she is a campaigner for migrant worker, plantation workers and women's rights. Irene is also a trade union organiser, environmentalist and the central committee member of the National Justice Party of Malaysia. Veteran campaigner Irene Fernandez in conversation with PN Venugopal about her work among Malaysia's migrant workers
lineimage

Government

Soft-Pedalling The Cola Ban

colaban image While the LDF government was quick to ban colas in Kerala, it mounted only a mild defense when this was challenged in court by the manufacturers of the drinks. Ignoring evidence of groundwater depletion and contamination, it argued only that the drinks were unsafe for consumption. M Suchithra and PN Venugopal report. image

M Suchitra Assaulted by Sand Mafia

M Suchitra, founder Editor of The Quest Features & Footage, now with the 'Down to Earth' and fellow journalist VM Deepa of Asianet were assaulted at Karur , Tamilnadu on 23 May while taking pictures of illegal sand mining at the Kaveri basin.
Click here for a link to the report in DTE
The district superintendent asked the journalists to leave the state immediately. Strangely enough, he said the journalists should have taken proper permission from the district authorities before taking visuals of the river!!!

We strongly condemn the assault on the journalists.

The Quest Features & Footage

Society

What binds every family in this Kerala Panchayat

Organic farming of KanjikuzhyThe thrust on chemical-free cultivation of vegetables that started as an experiment in the 90s has now evolved into a culture in Kerala's Kanjikkuzhi Gram Panchayat. P N Venugopal traces the growth and success of this initiative so far.
lineimage

Government | Law |

Jail is the rule, Bail an exception for Madani

Abdul Nasser MadaniAbdul Nasser Madani, an accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts, waits in vain for his trial to be speeded up after countless adjourned sessions of court. PN Venugopal recounts the circumstances and talks to Madani himself to discover how rules become exceptions in such cases.
lineimage

| Environment|

Will the Western Ghats decide Kerala's mandate?

Wetern Ghats The controversy over the Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports on ecological preservation in the Western Ghats has brought about a churn in politics in Kerala. It will not be a wonder if this will determine the decisions of the electorate in the Lok Sabha elections. PN Venugopalreports
lineimage

Government

Mullaperiyar: Is the light in the tunnel itself?

Mullapperiyar DamWith the SC striking down the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, concerns over the Mullaperiyar Dam could create tension anew between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Could a new study contain a potential solution to the issue? PN Venugopalexplores
lineimage

Agriculture

Farmers take the long-term view, with long stalk rice

pokkali fieldA group of committed individuals in Alappuzha, Kerala are battling odds to revive cultivation of the unique Pokkali variety of paddy that had given way to the more lucrative business of shrimp farming. PN Venugopalreports
lineimage

Environment

Demolition orders for Banyan Tree luxury resort

banyan tree resorts Division bench of the Kerala High Court has ordered demolition of the seven star resort built on an islet in Vembanad backwaters, a Ramsar site PN Venugopalreports
lineimage

Government

A committee to exonerate industry?

endosufan victim The recommendations of the committee constituted to look into the claims of endosulfan victims in Kasargod and decide on the need to set up a tribunal to settle those, appear to be largely sympathetic towards the Plantation Corporation and endosulfan manufacturers. PN Venugopal reports.
lineimage

Government

Right-of-Way and Right to Live

A massive agitation is brewing in Kerala against the proposed widening of Natonal Highways 47 and 17. It is spearheaded by the NH47- NH17 Joint Action Council. PN Venugopal
lineimage

Society

Jumbo Concerns

elephantA 12-member task force has recommended to make elephant a National heritage Animal and to impose strict restrictions on trapping, taming, buying selling and transporting elephants. Elephants may not be available for temple festivals as of yore. However, animal rights groups are all in praise for the MoEF's initiative to end cruelty towards elephants. M Suchitra reports.
lineimage

Government

Is the Kerala LDF coalition's confidence wearing thin?

Four years on, positives seem to be weighed down by negatives -- thanks mainly to the aggressive land acquisition for mega real estate projects by the ruling LDF coalition. State government's confidence at its low ebb? PN Venugopal reports.
lineimage

Environment

Coca cola in the Dock; Liable to Pay Damages

A high power committee appointed by the govt of Kerala has indicted Cocoa cola and has fixed the total loss due to their functioning at Rs 216 crores. The report has recommended the setting up of a tribunal for payment of compensation.PN Venugopal
lineimage

Dalit/Adivasi

Suzlon windmills on tribal land

cricketDistrict collector orders land grab inquiry in Attappady, Kerala about the land deals of a Pune based company that buys land and installs windmills for the multinational Suzlon Energy. M Suchitra reports.
lineimage

Environment

Kerala mangrove island under threat, cabinet divided

ValandakkadKerala's biodiversity board has asked Chief Minister V S Achutanandan to reject single window clearance for the 'High Tech City' project at the exhilarating Valanthakad island in the backwaters outside Kochi. PN Venugopal reports.
lineimage

Economy

Kerala Prescription for Economic Crisis

The Kerala government asked the Centre for Development Studies to suggest remedial measures to overcome the global melt down. A critique PN Venugopal reports.
lineimage

Agriculture

Who will grow food?

paddy Kerala Assembly on July 24 passed a legislation prohibiting indiscriminate reclamation of paddy fields, the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Bill, 2007. The new Bill protects paddy fields, but farmers find fewer reasons to cultivate rice. M Suchitra reports.
lineimage

Economy

Kerala revises controversial school textbook

The K N Panikkar committee recommended a change in a controversial chapter of a social sciences textbook that triggered violent agitation on the grounds that it promoted atheism and communism. PN Venugopal has more.
lineimage

Environment

Kerala's unconvincing shot at the environment ministry

athirappally Kerala's;s Left-dominated 141-member legislative assembly adopted a resolution on 11 July urging New Delhi to withdraw the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006. The resolution says the notification is "against the interest of Kerala State, nature, environment and people." M Suchitra reports on the controversy.
lineimage

Media

Malayalam TV serial makers soften feminism for the market

stree In Kerala womens worlds are made and unmade every day on TV channels as mutually contradictory messages on womanhood are aired. MP Basheer reports
lineimage

Environment

Producers Sneak Into Indian Delegation, Endorse DDT

Stockholm Convention on POPS How did two major operators in the POPs manufacturing-sector become part of India's official delegation to a conference which aims to eliminate their production and use? P N Venugopal. reports on the embarassing, but unabashed capture of officialdom by a manufacturer.
lineimage

Environment

The environmental refugees of Brahmapuram

Brahmapuram Recently, disaster struck all 53 families of the Chellipadam village in a Kochi suburb, when nearly 25 lorries, all carrying stinking garbage from the city rolled in with heavy police escort and dumped decaying garbage in their midst. The villagers had to flee their homes unable to stand the stench. M Suchitra and P N Venugopal. have more.
lineimage

Health

Death of New-borns and the Kerala Model

SAT Hospital 38 babies died in one hospital in Thiruvananthapuram over the past four months, shocking a state which boasts of the lowest infant mortality rate in the country. The much discussed and extolled Kerala model of health development is ailing, reports P N Venugopal.
lineimage

Environment

Storm Continues Over Silent Valley

Pathrakadavu The Kerala government is proposing to construct a new dam only a few kilometres from the site of one of India's great environment struggles in the Silent Valley National Park. But cooked data and ignored court orders have once again invited the wrath of conservationists. M Suchitra
reports. lineimage

Government

A Red Dawn That set Too soon

EMS 50 years from the scene of action, it can be safely said that the 28-month long EM Sankaran Namboodiripad government of April 1957 laid the foundation stones of the present day Kerala. Whether the merits of the maiden government's reform attempts were consolidated in the following five decades is another story altogether, writes
P N Venugopal. image

Health

Kerala spearheads community-care health revolution

Palliative care A unique home-based palliative and chronic care movement is sweeping through Kerala. Thousands of trained citizens are volunteering two hours a week to take care of the chronically ill in villages and cities. Funding for this community-based scheme that has won WHO recognition comes in cash and kind from citizens, including schoolchildren, bus drivers, labourers and others M Suchitra reports
image

Labour

Economic or Exploitation Zones?

Trade liberalisation and the proliferation of Special Economic Zones are expected to provide livelihood opportunities for thousands. This employment is expected to balance the huge revenue losses, large-scale displacement of farmers and regional development disparities resulting from SEZs. But what are the working conditions that are actually being created in these zones? M Suchitra reports.
image

Agriculture

Market-driven and sustainable?

In a significant move, the Kerala government has decided to promote the production and marketing of organic food.

C Surendranath . image

Agriculture

Rescuing the coconut economy

A community-based microcredit programme attempts to revive the economy of coastal Kerala's villages.

Prathapan B . image

.

The Quest Features and Footage
28/2859, Vikas Nagar, Kochi 682020, Kerala, India
email: info@questfeatures.org