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
8th Sept, 2018.
Comments received form a senior Kerala professional from the US is given here under.
|8:45 PM (23 minutes ago)|
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.