National Press Agency
There are few places more blessed with beauty, fertility and capacity to grow exotic spices, tea, coffee and coconuts. It is not without reason that the Kerala was described as God’s own country and flourished as a tourist destination as there are very few places which can match the beauty, color, fascination of backwaters and breath taking view of terraced gardens, exotic waterfalls and serene lakes, but life for its inhabitants remain hard forcing them to migrate in millions in search of jobs to other states in India and abroad.
One seriously wonders why a state so blessed with natural resources and people who work hard and are well qualified in terms of education and other skills have to leave their homes in search of jobs. What use is the full literacy and their ability for hard work as there are no avenues for employment within the State. The answer to these questions was provided by a veteran journalist now settled in Trivendrum after retirement. He said that some States progress because of bureaucrats with a missionary zeal or Politicians with a vision, but Kerala has been ill served by both. There is no IT hub or industry worth the name.
The result is that there is all-round corruption. The portfolios are divided on the basis of their ability to yield funds for running political parties. The situation has not changed even though the electorate throws out the coalition in power to be replaced by the other every five years, but it makes no difference to the ground situation. The State continues to thrive through migration, largest group over two millions in Gulf only who have built colorful houses in their old villages.
The bright hues, no colour being a taboo, provide the best advertisement for paint companies speaking about colorful homes and houses which continuing to shine despite rain and dust for years. The State can also boast of one industry which has been growing at a spectacular pace that is consumption of liquor. Alcohol sale is the largest money spinner for the State. Tourism is also a flourishing industry, but has suffered setbacks recently because of the world-wide recession. A number of charter flights has stopped, though Indian tourists who have discovered the beauty of this coastal State continue to visit in ever growing numbers.
This has also led to large scale illegal construction and encroachments in beauty spots like Munar which have not been demolished despite best efforts by State Chief Minister who is facing opposition from his own party men .No illegal structure comes up without the backing of a politician who are ready to do everything to protect them when threatened by the authorities. Why people accept this state of affairs is easy to explain as no viable alternative has emerged so far. Coalition politics makes for inefficient and corrupt administration and Kerala is no exception.
It, however, remains an ideal place for a holiday as state as a whole has high standard of hygiene. The roads are smooth and people are friendly. Its beautiful churches and historic temples are a delight. People gather in thousands and remain disciplined. There is no pushing or jostling. Eve teasing is unheard off. The sunset and sun rise have a beauty and charm which can not be compared with any sight in the world.
The State agencies, however leave much to be desired The most beautiful and unique wood palace in the country can charm anyone but visit to it is made difficult for one and all. Long distance has to be covered bare footed where sharp stones can easily injure the old and foreigners not used to walking without shoes. The lovely paintings are difficult to view or appreciate in the absence of lighting. The narrow staircase, lack of proper management make every visit a serious hazard. The State, however, has used the opportunity by posting large number of persons all-round who have little knowledge about history or the uniqueness of exhibits.
The boat trips in the lake in tiger sanctuary have been resumed after a break because of tragedy when a boat sank killing many because it was overloaded. There are, however, few animals to be seen few wild pigs and stags can be spotted during hour’s long journey. There is no denying that the state has unique attractions as a tourist destination an industry which can generate large number of jobs. This, however, will come when State gets around to improving its infrastructure and not rely only on ability of Ayurveda to revive and revitalize the tired bodies.
There is need to regulate markets selling spices and handlooms and stop the mushroom growth of Spas selling immediate cures and rejuvenation packages. Kerala hopes that setbacks in UAE and other destinations which provide hope to millions in Kerala will revive soon and continue to brighten its country-side with foreign remittances.
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