Kerala governor addresses assembly, opposition shows anti-government placards
Even as Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar Friday gave a thumbs-up to the Oommen Chandy government, the Left opposition came to the house with placards against the chief minister for failing to handle price rise and corruption.
In a two-hour address to the state assembly, the governor said: "My government is delivering commendably on promises made to the people and has persevered hard for the social and economic development of our state. Most of the key projects, whether in industrial, agricultural, health, education, infrastructure or information technology sectors, that had gone into dormancy, have been revived and put on fast track."
To some people's surprise, the governor signed off on a political note, stating that his government would always welcome constructive criticism.
"At the same time, one cannot but comment on increasing fissiparous tendencies, and the resort to subterfuge and insinuation for political advantage, even on matters where the honourable courts of the land have not seen it appropriate to intervene. My government has handled all such agitations in the highest democratic tradition, as any elected government should, even though on many occasions, such agitations have grossly breached the bounds of dignity and order and have even endangered lives and compromised the rights and freedom of people," Nikhil Kumar said.
He pointed out that the tourism sector remains among major contributors to the economic base of the state.
"The stress will be on improving basic amenities for tourists and exploring new marketing potential. More than 40 new destinations will be developed. Responsible tourism initiatives will be expanded to more areas," Nikhil Kumar said, mentioning also the new project to conserve traditional snake boats.
On the challenge posed by extremist movements in some parts of the state, he said a special force to would be created to deal with such elements.
Another initiative announced Friday was the Chandy government's decision to install off-grid rooftop solar power plants in individual houses and institutions, domestic biogas plants and solar home lighting systems. Also, solar lanterns would be distributed on a significant scale this year.
"Skill Parks will now be set up in the 140 assembly constituencies in the state and a proposal for availing a loan for the programme from Asian Development Bank is now pending," Nikhil Kumar said.
These parks are expected to function round-the-clock as centres where students can enrol, regardless of where they study, to develop specific skills.
To ensure that people from the state who are part of the diaspora are not exploited, the state government will work with the ministries of external affairs and overseas affairs, to ensure protection of emigrants who take up low-end jobs in the unorganised sector, so that they are not exploited by unscrupulous middlemen.
Speaking of the youth, the governor said the Chandy government intended to provide support to young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas so that they can set up new enterprises and the Kochi-based Start-up Village, launched in 2012 as lndia's first public-private partnership model, will help incubate thousand start-ups over the next l0 years.
Nikhil Kumar, who assumed office in March 2013, was making his first address to the state assembly Friday.
(Posted on 03-01-2014)