During 2018 the monsoon was very severe in Kerala and for nearly three months it was steady down pour in terms of intensity, velocity and destructive fury. Out of 14 districts in the state, the worst affected are Pathanamthitta, Alleppy, Idukki,, Kottayam,Ernakulam, Wynad to mention a few in terms of loss of humans and live stock.
It is estimated that some 90,000 cattle heads are lost worth Rs 270 lakhs. Human lives lost may be any ones guess work now as the final head count is yet to confirm the death toll. Personal property worth Rs 3000 lakhs must have been consumed by the deluge. The households items include TV, fridge, washing machine, beds, mattresses, furniture and fixtures, computers, dress, kitchen electronic items, crockery, cutlery, electric motors, etc.
Standing crops both tree and others like banana, nut meg ,vegetable, fruit trees, etc may be lost worth Rs 300 lakhs across Kerala.
Houses, its compound walls necessitating rebuilding, painting, polishing, etc may cost Rs 2500 lakhs.
Food grains and such other items lost in go downs by traders may be around Rs 1600 lakhs.
Medicines stored, library books, both personal and public may be lost to the tune of Rs 2400 lakhs.
Cement go downs, furniture go downs, cold storages, cars, plywood, etc lost in the flood waters may be Rs 3000 lakhs
Cars, two wheelers , other four wheelers and bicycles lost may be estimated at Rs.31,00 lakhs.
Public buildings must have suffered an estimated loss of Rs 1000 lakhs. Roads, bridges and canals damaged may be to the tune of Rs 900,000 lakhs.
Boats and country canoes lost may be around Rs 200 lakhs. The total loss to bus stands, airports, railway lines may be around Rs 9000 lakhs. Drinking water facilities and its pumping stations must have suffered Rs 900 lakhs losses. The total loss to the state power company namely KSEB may be Rs 1500 lakhs.
School going kids lost books, uniforms may be worth Rs 150 lakhs.
Critical documents like Aadhaar, ration cards, RC books of vehicles, passports, education certificates, licences, permits, sale deeds, revenue documents, hospital records, etc may be lost for good. Some are recoverable by the issuance e of duplicates while others are lost forever.
Thus the story of destructions in terms of money is huge and even poorly quantifiable. But the trauma and stress suffered by millions in Kerala and their relatives abroad is unparalleled in the recent world history.
Kerala must work as a team to rebuild its lost economy. Here the narrow considerations must give way to the common good. During the deluge and its rescue operations one thing was very much clear to any independent observer that the youth is the promise of the future. They sank all differences of religion, political affiliations and such other man made barriers. There are aberrations to the normal behaviour of the Kerala psyche observed as well.
We need bold initiative to rebuild the state from its critical chaos. Our focus must be inclusive efforts with peoples participation to evolve sustainable and safe future for the posterity and the environment. We need professionals with vision and fortitude to dream for a new Kerala to emerge from this catastrophe. We need millions of rupees worth resources and dedicated professionals who are known for their impeccable integrity to lead our rebuilding phase beyond sectarian and caste or political considerations to bring in momentum and velocity to our efforts in a time bound mission mode.
There are hundreds of men and women of Kerala origin including our diasporas with track record to lead us in our rebuilding if the government wants them to step in without narrow considerations.
- Let us agree that ministers are to be spared from this task of rebuilding fully as they are to be busy with governance only. They may be invited for formal inaugurations and to chair the critical meetings with major donors etc as a part of protocol.
- Our bureaucrats are too good in many things but not for a mission mode like massive rebuilding of a toughly devastated economy within five Here comes sagacity, practical wisdom and prudence. Let our IAS /IPS officers do the day to day administration work instead of diluting their time for many things. Line ministries would carry on its day to day government job as they cannot be over burdened with so many tasks. They are not multitask experts either.
- May be the government machinery to be strictly active with vigilance, law and order, etc.
- As the Hon High Court of Kerala has opined let there be 100 percent transparency in the resource deployment with meticulous accounting so that there is hardly any room for leakages both inherent or
- Men and women of impeccable integrity to be associated with this rebuilding exercise. Besides, we may rope in professionals and experts who have proven their metal elsewhere to take up this task on war
- It is suggested that Mr MA Yusuf Ali who runs successful ventures in many countries to be requested to lead this herculean mission for five years with unlimited He may be designated as CEO of Kerala Rebuilding Authority for a period of five years. He may be given free hand to select his team including Mr.E Sreedhran. It is not a team of personal conflicts or animosity but to harness our scarce resources to be used optimally with multiplier effects and spread effects.
- It is suggested that Rev Dr Abraham Mulamootil to be nominated as the coordinating secretary of the special task on account of his track record of an institution builder with openness and vision without permitting any extraneous influence in the conduct of his day to day
- It is better to have experts in the core committee like Dr MS Swaminathan to help with Agriculture and allied activities, Dr Vallyathan to associate with health matters to make Kerala a world class health destination for health tourism, Justice K Narayana Kurup to help with legal matters, Mr Vijaya Raghavan to help with planning and waste management, Mr George Paul of Synthite to help with time bound management matters and regular monitoring , Mr Kris Gopala Krishnan to help with matters of vertical town and country planning and small and medium industries, , Dr D Babu Paul to associate with specific innovative projects for overcoming land resource constraints ,Mr joy P Jacob of MOSC Kolenchery to help with hospital waste management matters, Prof Madhava Gadgil to guide us about the fragile ecology, etc to suggest a few names, who do not even want any money from this emergency task funds even for travel to attend the meetings.
- There is a need to set up an independent monitoring and evaluation unit in each implementing unit for its ongoing progress review. Every quarter there is need for strict review of the physical an d financial achievement of targets along with built in mechanism to correct This would finally be reviewed by the core group/ committee for the all the participating units on quarterly basis for suggesting course corrections.
- Kerala professionals are there everywhere like UN, WB, ADB, to mention a few. We need to invite them as good will ambassadors for a few months or years as our state guests without any remuneration but with minimum courtesy like food ,accommodation, local travel, decent office space with supportive It is said together we form the gardens. Time and tide wait for none. Hence a stitch in time saves nine as the old adage goes. The future beckons for Kerala, shall we falter?
(Dr KM George; President of Sustainable Development Forum; Melmana, Kerala, Pin 686663; Melmana@gmail.com)