Monday, May 28, 2007

Other side of Munnar Demolitions

The demolition drive started by the Left Front Government in Kerala is going on in full swing. The media - both visual and print is full of news hailing the LDF and most importantly Achuthanandan who is cleverly using this to settle political scores with his own party men.

Yes, if the land belonging to the Government is encroached, it is the duty of the Government to vacate those people who did this illegal thing. But do you think the way the Government is doing this is the correct way? I don't think so for many reasons.

If someone encroached the land and constructed a hotel/resort, a clever Government should have thrown out the encroacher without demolishing the resort and handed over the control of the resort to some Government agencies - in this case to Kerala State Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC)) or to some third party. Thus the Government could have made sure that booming tourism industry could never suffer even for a short span. But what did our great Government do? Just to gain some cheap publicity they demolished the entire hotels/resorts built by the encroachers. The result - see the Deepika News below.



For those who cannot understand Malayalam the news in a nut shell is as follows: "The tourists who come to Munnar these days are not getting any hotels to stay and are forced to go back the same day".

Only one genuine industry that was seeing growth in Kerala during recent times was tourism. Now with these shortsighted, publicity stunt from the Government, I fear that Kerala will start seeing downward trend in this industry also.

Now the tourism minister has announced on May 21st that a master plan for tourism development will be prepared within 4 months for Munnar. Let us hope this master plan will see the light of the day at least by the time next assembly elections comes in Kerala. By the time all the tourists coming to Munnar they would have found more beautiful places outside Kerala and Kerala's tourism industry will plummet to new lows. But who cares?

Now have anyone thought about the people working in those hotels/resorts. Most of them should be very poor people. Demolishing these buildings in such a hurry could have put a big question mark on their life. Most of the encroachers may be rich but what about the poor people who work there? Again if the Government just threw out the encroachers without demolishing the structure these people would not have lost jobs.

Last but not the least; we have seen a trend with the communist party to make harsh comments against judiciary when a judgment goes against them. Their party leaders have even claimed that judiciary is following an "agenda of globalization" when few verdicts went against the party. Now when the Court gave a verdict supporting eviction the party whole heartedly welcomed the verdict, once again proving that communist party in Kerala is allergic to criticism of any kind.

GOD'S OWN COUNTRY IS GOING TO BECOME A NIGHTMARE FOR TOURISTS AND THE TOURISM INDUSTRY?

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13 Comments:

Blogger Praveen said...

Brijesh,

You are like “valarthan pidichalaum kiyo kiyo, kollan pidichalam kiyo kiyo”. Hens cry ‘kiyo kiyo’ irrespective of whether you cath em to kill or to nurture.

If the Government does some thing good, you will say its public stunt and doing it to settle political score. If they don’t, then you will say they are dumb.

Well.. about Munnar, it’s a place known for its ambience. It is always good to demolish such huge encroachments and maintain its beauty.
Moreover, if those building are still there, the owners can easily own them back when the next government comes in to power. Can you guarantee that they don’t?!!!
But they don’t dare to build again by the fear that it could be demolished again when LDF again comes to power.

And about the Tourist you are talking about; when a new road is on construction, when an existing road is been repaired or whatever constructions or demolitions which is part of the development happens, you cannot wait for any tourist. Ofcourse the tourist who visit at that time and the locals may suffer a little, but the work should go on for a better tomorrow.

PS: QUOTE:” Only one genuine industry that was seeing growth in Kerala during recent times was tourism.QUOTE”.
Come on, Technoparks, Infoparks and smartcities are not for tourism. Try to see the good things aswell and stop finding only ‘wrong’ from the right.

About Achuthanathan, read an article in Mathrubhumi, “If he continues with his good governance like this, his place is going to be with our great ex-chief minister Achuthamenon”.

May 29, 2007 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brijesh,

Illegal structues are not a Kerla phenomena, and demolition of illegal structure is not an LDF phenomena. It is there every where-it is a global epidemic. Even in your US could be. Check the law you are having.

Most of the goverments tackle the illegal structures by delmolition only. But in India there one more- it is called regularization of illegal structues. It is one of the way to collect money to the treasury if the govt is cash strapped. Thanks to Kerala govt it is not doing this.

I think they are doing this for a better tomorrow.
I like it. :)

-Bipin

May 29, 2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous sarath said...

I did some googling on demolition of illegal encroachments in other parts of India. According to some of the news and blogs that I came up, nearly 90000 'slums' were razed to ground in mumbai by feb 2005 and some 18000 'slums' in Delhi were directed for demolition by the court. At the same time these municipalities & corporations were NOT 'very active' in demolishing illegal encroachment structures of middle and upper class people. Obviously, they fear the public outcry(for middle class) & influence(for upper class) of those people. Obviously, the govts there know that no one will stand up for slum dwellers..in places like delhi/mumbai where the rich calls the shots, so without any probs they can devote those lands to the so called 'IT' development or whatever.

Compared to such situations in delhi/mumbai the Kerala Govt. has done a MUCH BETTER job in sparing no one who has done illegal encroachment. At least, so far no evidence that I know of has come up saying that he has shown any bias in selecting the structures for demolition.

May 30, 2007 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brijesh,
You are repeating the Leader's comment here.He was the first one to say this angle. Let me say one thing- many regard KK(K has man full forms :) ) as an able administrator. Now he is an able "makkal mooduthangi"..nothing else..if he ever comes to power again he will make Murali(a social menace) CM and Padmaja(deputy CM) nothing else..he has no ability to do anything else forget takeover of Munnar resorts without demolition.He and his family is the No.2 benami landowner in Kerala (No.1 is KmMani and his gang).
Pinne the resorts need to be demolished and tthe commies know how to do it in style.Remember Tiannamen..how China still has to live that "rights abuser" name just because a few tanks rolled on and the visuals were aired all over(while thousands of dissidents were tortured in secret before).its that visual image..the images of strong Caterpillars demolishing the huge 6 storey resorts..this will send a no-nonsense message to the "land mafia" a very real thing in kerala
read this
http://www.keralatips.org/2007/02/28/land-mafia-in-kerala-how-to-loose-your-property/
Allathe takeover etc.. wont work..they will go to courrt and the battle will drag on for years for possesion..everyone knows that such a legal angle is completely usless to the GOvt.
..as an NRI if you buy some property and come back later and still find it there (post munnar) you can thanks VS for that.
Also this has had a avalanche effect across teh state - Tvm,Kochi etc. I am happy that Rishiraj Singh is CM's trusted police officer for everything(CD piracy raid,Munnar etc.). A more honest officer cannot be found in the Kerala cadre. Criticism of almost everything communist is not a very good idea..they have their faults but there strenghts are super..if they want to do something no matter what they will do it ..not like the spineless Congress.
~P

May 30, 2007 6:43 AM  
Blogger Praveen said...

You are right Sarath. They are not biased. They have even demolished an office building running by communist party loated in a Government land.

May 30, 2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger Girish G. Kaimal said...

Well, lets see, so they break down the buidings and knowing kerala they will leave the rubble there for a long time. The land wont be returning to its natural state any time in the near future.

So here we have perfectly useable property going waste. The commis being the dumb pricks they are, the same breed that would prevent private ownership of land if they could, would have been better off if they possesed the hotels/resorts and ran them under the tourism dept. It would have been an optimum utilization of the exsistant resources and used the profits for conservation work.

Now we have a rubble, well intentioned rubble at that!Brijesh you have it a 100% right in saying the govt is dumb one. It has been short sighted at best and lived true to its ideological origins - a short sighted failed social system.

Wicked blog by the way,
cheers
G

May 30, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger stayingpositive said...

Disagree.

Land for cardamom cultivation is to be used for just that. Not to build hotels or to promote tourism.

Agree with praveen. The next time the ministry changes (or even when the current one loses interest), the encroachers will be back in full force.

Regarding the poor workers - I'm sure they knew what they were getting into. To quote the Gita - If you don't do anyting, even that is Dharma. But simply because you have nothing else to do, doing Adharma does not make it Dharma.

Good post, but argument not very solid.

AK

May 31, 2007 7:29 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Praveen,
There are lots of reports now coming that demolition is selective. Buildings of those who are close to the ruling circle are not even touched there. You may argue that the office of CPI was demolished. It was demolished because initially CPI was against the appointment of 3 officials in the demolition squad and to teach them a lesson our CM did that.
Talking about software, Karnataka software export is worth 38,000 crore while Kerala export is worth 600 crore. You can make your own conclusions.

Mathurbhoomi will write so many good things about Achuthanandan. Mathurbhoomi owner M P Veerendara kumar owns acres of illegal land in Wayanad and he needs the support of Achuthanandan to keep it. So Matrhubhoomi will hail him.

Bipin,
The people brought most of those demolished structures after going through all the procedures. They were fooled by the government officials who made fake documents. The demolitions that take place in Delhi etc are not like that. Some one knowlingly invades a piece of land belonging to government. In this case most owners of the building are being cheated.

Sarath,
I have seen a lot of news that some buildings belonging to people close to communist party was not touched. I don’t know how much truth is there. I still feel that till government develop alternate infrastructure those buildings should have been kept.

P

I still consider leader as an able administrator. Praveen has mentioned that mathrubhoomi has mentioned that Achuthamenon was the best Chief Minister. Remember who was the Home Minister then.

Girish,
At last one person to support me. “a short sighted failed social system" I liked that. It started with the land reforms and continuing. They will continue till Kerala is destroyed.

Stayingpositive

I know lot of people will disagree with me in this subject but these are just my thoughts.

June 01, 2007 7:00 AM  
Blogger Sachin R K said...

Disagree with the content of your post ( except the last para). Bear in mind that Munnar is an ecologically fragile area. Constructions there sould bedemolished. The idea of Govt taking over and running these illegal resorts is ludicruous. Iam not sure if that is even legally tenable. As for halting the demolition drive because it causes hardship to foreign tourists or because the poor employees will be the ones affected, the idea is laughable. By the same token, poppy cultivators should be allowed to do as they please , because they have no other means of livelihood.

Your analysis of Munnar demolitions was poor. By confining the good aspects to one or two sentences, you have conveyed the wrong impression entirely. Even granting the demolition drive has been selective ( which I dont agree ) , isnt it logical and a practical option to get rid of at least some illegal constructions. Else we will have the situation of thieves openly arguing in court - Why are you catching me when you acquited so-and-so.

June 02, 2007 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear malayalees are enjoying the reality TV show.

I have no problem with the Govt demolishing properties on the poremboke. My only concern is that will they demolish any legally owned property. Any government is supposed to protect property laws. This includes individual's property and its own property, in this case the poremboke land.

Atleast, this government is trying to get its properties back unlike the Delhi and Mumbai corporations which are giving it away to occupiers. The only issue is how they are going about doing it. If the scare tactics work ( and I hear they have), so be it. Using JCBs to wreck the illegal portions which may also create structural damage to the legal portions have scared some property owners to demolish the illegal portions themselves. The next thing VS has to do is to revoke squatters rights.

June 02, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Sachin R K,
Thanks for critically evaluating my post. I came to this conclusion after reading various stuffs available in the net. I may be wrong. The speed with which they are doing this stuff make me think that protecting the ecology of Munnar is behind the demolition drive. Also there are at least few properties for which the owners have proper deeds but still it was demolished.

Anon @ 9.42 AM

Let us see if more reality shows are coming up in the near future.

June 03, 2007 8:06 AM  
Blogger Sharoon Thomas said...

Hi thought i should cast my opinion on this hot issue.
I would say what the govt is doing in Munnar is an absolute blunder.
I hope u must be aware that they demolished a resort called cloud Nine.
This resort was given a govt subsidy of Rs 10 lakh for efficient land utilisation and efficeient construction. An additional subsidy of Rs.1 lakh for eco friendly construction.
Demolishing this building dont u think is loss of public property??

Demolishing building for which loans worth 80 lakh to over 1 cr being given by nationalised banks?
Is it publiloss or personal loss.

Anyhow being an economist to say demolishing any building is a public loss is widely accepted.

June 23, 2007 1:37 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Sharoon Thomas

You are absolutely right. I read that most of those hotels that were demolished have taken loans from nationalized bank. My understanding was that nationalized banks are supposed to check the validity of the land before they issue the loans. Some thing is fishy somewhere for sure.

June 26, 2007 2:54 AM  

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