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Kerala’s Budget exposes the state’s lacunae in acquiring land.

The 2016–17 Kerala Budget has been in the news including international media for promising a “right to internet” forget that it is by and far just a declaration, with a fund established to develop an optical fiber cable network.

What caught my attention, however are some of the other declarations/announcements in the Budget. I am concentrating here on a single announcement here, one relating to the Kozhikode Airport.

This was the announcement that was made:

A rather innocuous statement one might say, a routine announcement, the expansion of the Kozhikode Airport. But this announcement was made quite a while ago; by the same minister.

How long ago, you might ask. Quite a while ago… and I was connected to it in a roundabout manner as well.

So the year is 2008 when the same Finance minister made this announcement, in the previous LDF ministry. Almost a whole decade has passed, and the state is still acquiring the land in a “time bound manner”.

The funny thing is, I did a project on the impact of the land acquisition in 2009, for the National Science Children’s Science Congress, and found it funny how not a single move had been made to acquire the land.

Even more sadly, the Kozhikode Airport has almost irreparably declined, and I was witness to a protest just today, to protect the Airport.

Anyhow, this point that I’ve illustrated above is that there maybe a series of great or rather mundane budget announcements of any and every sort, but when it comes down to action, without political will, most of them will go unfulfilled, and that is why Mr.Issac had to repeat the same statement that he had made all those years ago.

This is especially in the case when you consider the steps to acquire land. In densely populated Kerala, acquiring land for any purpose turns into an intensely political and social issue, with no resolution in sight.


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