Kerala Way Forward – Road Map for Kerala Rebuilding Authority (KRA) Policy Issues

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 and Wynad to mention a few in terms  of  loss of  humans,  live stock, property and standing crops. Rebuilding  of  Kerala must   occupy  the  prime  concern of policy makers  and the Kerala people  as  well as  its  Diaspora. Anyone  out  there who  is a  good Samaritan must accord top  priority  to the  following policy  issues  if   we  are  for  a new Kerala to  emerge.

  • The KRA must be there for a period of   five years.  It must be noted that KRA   is a time bound intervention and once the task is completed it must be done away with.
  • It must work on  a mission mode  like  the  Cochin Metro  staffed  only  with  men and women  who are  fully  We  need  professionals  who  work not as per  office hours, but  those  who are  willing  to  walk the  extra mile.
  • Data must be the basic point to commence any such work of KRA. The general weakness of the economy is lack of credible data including need assessment information. Unless the foundation is strong, hardly any edifice can stand the test of time. Again it must be   fully  transparent and  all the list of  activities  to be  published in the print  media and   electronic  media on a regular basis so that  it  is  fully  transparent  and  subject  to  social
  • It  is a big  challenge  for  the KRA  to   bring together  all potential funding  agencies to discuss  the  very many  projects  and  programmes  with  clear  cut vision. It may be discussed in a meeting of the   IDA, World Bank, FAO, UNOPS, ADB, UNDP, World Food Programme, WHO, UNODC, etc. Surely the felt needs of the people must reflect in the programmes and   projects that are meant for them.
  • Also bring together all Diaspora with wherewithal and willingness to spare a few days summit at CIAL convention Centre.  KRA  to  showcase  several  projects  for them  to  consider  funding including   schools,  residential  apartments,  agriculture,  animal  husbandry,  small business, ayurveda  plus  yoga to  augment  medical  tourism, small and medium enterprises with matching  inputs form the
  • Government must be willing to act as the   It is a very important role to provide the critical   synergy.
  • There is   a need to plan and   redesign our habitats and farm areas as per the vulnerability from natural calamities. Regions like  Kuttanad,   Alwaye,  Chenganoor, Kalady,  Paravoor  and  such others  need  a master plan  to  rebuild its  future  may  be  guided by  the experience  of  countries like  Japan, Brazil,  and Holland .
  • The population of  Kerala  now may be around  5  cores .By  2050  it  may be  around  five  cores.  There  are  some 1.13  crores of  households  now  and  between rural  and  urban  areas  the  distribution is  0.59 crores and  0.53  crores  respectively. To  cater to  th e housing needs  of  all  these  people s ay  some one  crores households,  we need  land .Land  is very scarce  in  Kerala.
  • The only way forward  is  to  go for vertical growth  with location  specific  and  eco  friendly  apartments  with  matching facilities  like schools,  health  centres,  shopping  centres, play  grounds and  such other  entertainment  areas as  we  observe in  places  like Chandigarh. Zonal system may be considered for   such well designed planned approach. The  vertical  housing  as   done  in China  may be  examined  with  regional improvements  for  Kerala  to
  • It is  worth  to examine the  feasibility of  floating  buildings as done in Holland, in our  low   lying areas  like  Kuttanad and that  too  in vertical  shape  with  supportive  facilities and  rescue
  • Another choice  is to  offer  a    two or  three  options  to the  potential  beneficiaries  to  choose from the  houses  built  by the    One set  of  not exceeding  Rs  10 lakhs uniform  pattern, style, etc  for which  the KRA  funds 50  percent and the reaming is  bank  loan  to be  repaid  by the beneficiary  in  instalments.  Those who  want to  own  a  better  style of   housing  can  be  given  Rs 20 lakhs  worth  housing  with  only 20 percent subsidy  payment  support  from the   KRA with bank loans with  initial moratorium,  etc.
  • It needs  a bold  decision  on the part of  KRA and  the   beneficiaries to  relocate  to  higher  elevations  form the  Dutch  like permanent inundation    People  need to be  educated  by  sociologists and  even  religious   leaders  to prepare  them to opt  for  such  a   bold decision.
  • Waste disposal  -both  solid  waste  and  non  solid  waste  including  e – waste is another  priority  for  any  plan  for  rebuilding
  • Loses to  our  biodiversity  is  to be  ascertained  and  plans  must be in place  to  ward off  any such eventuality in  future  with  the  sustainable  development  goals  of  the  UN  in mind.
  • At the  apex  level  of  the  KRA  there  is  a need  to  top notch  professionals like  Mr  MA  Yusuf Ali,   Er E Sreedhran, Dr  Ms Swmainathan,   Dr  Vallyathan, Prof  Madhav Gadgill  to mention a few men  of  eminence.   It is  suggested  that men like 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 may be  persuaded to  get in  to the  rebuilding  team  to  suggest  a few  such names, who are  only function as  facilitators.
  • At the implementing department  levels, there  is  a need for  very vibrant  professionals like  Dr Raju Narayana  Swami who are  not   the  yes men  of  any one. There is no compromise on quality, transparency and timeliness.
  • Concurrent monitoring and evaluation is a prerequisite for effecting troubleshooting.
  • Global tenders are needed. It must be  done without fear  or  favour  as  the  only  objective is  quality  and
  • KRA may be  housed  in  the  CIAL  area  for  better  connectivity  and  to  optimise  the  span of  control across
  • 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
  • The approach must be multipronged in terms of design and execution. There are  immediate short term  mitigation measures to  be done  like relief in terms  of  drinking  water,  food,   clothing, school  books and  long term well thought out holistic rehabilitation projects and  The need is emerge a new Kerala. It must be  a model  for  any country in the world to emulate taking  a  perspective of fifty  years  from now  on wards inter woven  with th e  SDGs  of   the  UN.

 

 

Dr KM George

www.drkmgeorge.com

8th Sept, 2018.

Comments received  form a  senior Kerala  professional  from  the  US is  given  here  under.

Mathew Thomas
8:45 PM (23 minutes ago)
to me

Dear Dr.G,

Thank you sir for your constant vigil and innovative initiatives for the greatest need of the hour as far as we the Keralites around the world are concerned. It took us all to the core of the devastation and misery of the ordinary people with the images and stories that took us all into the lives lost and affected. The daunting challenge for us is to address and remedy the problem in many stages; your analysis is very thorough and well thought out.

A couple of points to high light will be needed. While the govt and many NGOs and churches are all in it, we need to see coordination and transparency in the execution of the rebuilding process. A body like what you suggest will be good, if the govt can attract representation from all of the above agencies. People who head the work should be very good with proven public records in executive positions as judges, collectors, humanitarian pioneers and engineers, economists and pastors and social workers and environmental experts to show the diverse kind of inputs needed to tackle all the long and short term works.

When giving monitory help, there should be a good screening based on the loss, total loss for the bottom level people who have no means. We know that there are those who have losses, but they can come back on their own means because they have well built houses still standing, they have a job or retirement means etc; they are at top and practically they need minimum or no help at all.

The bulk of the help has to go to those poor families, including the tribal and day labourers, small scale industry dependent families, also long term solutions should be in place to avoid landslides and environmental protection in those affected areas. Money should go to rebuilding the infra structure and preventive measures as building sea walls diverting water to canals and cleaning and clearing manmade obstacles as dumping and poor waste management. I think waste management should be the number one lesson we need to learn from this. Rebuilding and replanting our environment with trees along the sides of roads and each household should be another area. People need to be educated in this. Recycle-recycle-recycle all the way.

Learn from other flood prone countries by inviting them through UN and other international agencies.

Give complete accounting to all money received and disbursed.

People with guts and calling – I say – those who will take any job as VOCATION and not as a place of VACATION! , should be there. No politics should interfere.

I have hope that the leadership will rise to the occasion and see the overwhelming response from the Diaspora communities and those big donors from all walks of life to have that spirit of INCLUSIVITY when this board is made.

There may be more to add. People from the US and elsewhere, especially younger generation wants the money to go to building the lives of those who lost everything, the focus should start from there, rather than from the top.

Thank you,

Fr.MT