|Government|

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Manipuri is not Merely a Dance


Manipur The armed forces were deputed to Manipur for suppressing the separatists. The forces can search the houses without warrant, destroy them, take people into custody, interrogate them and even shoot to kill. The actions of the armed forces cannot be questioned in a court of law. The massive deployment of forces has only worsened the situation. Innocents get killed in the cross fire between the separatists and the service personnel. More than 25000 have been killed in the last six decades. Many Manipuris harbour a doubt; is Manipur really a part of India? M Suchitra, Vidhu vincent.
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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
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Kerala’s landless dalits battle for Chengara

Chengara In yet another confrontation with industry, hundreds of landless families – principally dalits and adivasis -- have occupied the Harrison Malayalam rubber plantation in Kerala. Claiming that the company’s land lease has long expired, they are demanding 5 acres of land and Rs 50,000 for each family. Reports P N Venugopal.
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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.
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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 Suchitrareports.
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Rain or no rain, water for Coke

The Permumatty grama panchayat of Kerala's Plachimada village has appealed to the Supreme Court for revocation of a recent High Court order granting permission to Coca Cola to draw water upto 5 lakh litres per day. The High Court's ruling was based on an investigation that has raised more questions than answered. report. P N Venugopal and M Suchitra reports.
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EZs: 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.
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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
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"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.
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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
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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
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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
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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 P N Venugopal. image

Kerala's unconvincing shot at the environment ministry

kuttanad Kerala’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.
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No justice for Kerala victims

endosulfan victims On JUNE 26, 2006, the Kerala High Court ordered that the Rs 50 lakh allocated by Kerala government for the victims of the pesticide endosulfan in the state's Kasargod district should be disbursed expeditiously PN Venugopal reports
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Kerala: rain-blessed and short of water

kuttanad With its enchanting greenery and network of backwaters and rivers, Kerala is thought to be a water-plenty state. After all, Kerala gets 6 months of rainfall, 2.5 times higher than the national average. Despite this, the state has been experiencing water scarcity, with conditions worsening in some regions. P N Venugopal analyses the causes.
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A `shocking' development

Police using shock batons In a recent lathi charge on protesting student activists, Kerala's police used electric shock batons. The state's model of development has many votaries worldwide, but the savageness in police actions on mass programmes does not seem to be going away, reports P N Venugopal
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