Stress on population-based allocation for changes in under-developed areas
The pending development concerns of Malabar and its growth opportunities were placed for debate at a panel discussion on ‘Malabar Rising’, organised by The Hindu as part of the first anniversary celebrations of its Kozhikode edition at Gateway Hotel here on Saturday.
The discussions, opened by Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor, The Hindu, unanimously called for a population-based budget allocation to bring in positive changes in the under-developed areas of Malabar region.
Panelists from various socio-cultural fields stressed the need to realise various developmental projects included in the Malabar package, which is now hit by fund crunch.
In his presentation, K.N.A. Khader, MLA, said the State government should appoint a special commission to study the regional imbalances in Kerala with special focus on the northern and southern regions.
He said a population-based budget allocation would bring some changes in the existing imbalances that pulled back the developmental aspirations of Malabar region.
Supporting Mr. Khader’s viewpoint on budget allocation, A. Pradeep Kumar, MLA, said it was high time the State made some possible interventions to resolve the unequal distribution of wealth in the budget. He said the Malabar package should be implemented at any cost clearing all administrative delays and fund shortage.
Explaining Kozhikode city’s priority area, Mayor A.K. Premajam said it was not just multi-storeyed buildings and the mono-rail project that determined the fate of Kozhikode in its development sphere. “For us, strategic utilisation of available resources to address the basic needs of the common man is the first priority and that can be done through clear planning by local self-government institutions.”
The former Mayor M. Bhaskaran said political differences should be kept aside by parties and people’s representatives while dealing with crucial developmental projects. He affirmed that the development of Malabar would be possible only through the expansion of its transportation facilities and industrial ventures.
Digressing from the views of other panelists, K. Narayanan, former project manager of the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project, said it was the lack of cooperation from the people of Malabar that nipped in the bud several development projects.
“The authorities concerned should hold discussions with the people to read their pulse and turn their opinion in favour of a fruitful implementation,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, G. Sasikumar, Regional Town Planner, observed that Malabar was still remained a land of opportunities that opened its doors to several potential projects. “Kozhikode, being the headquarters of Malabar, can certainly emerge as a base point to tap the tourism potential of the region,” he said.
Environmentalist A. Achyuthan stressed that true development should always go in favour of protecting the already existing environment and ecology. “Instead of displacing people in the name of development, we should look for inclusive options through which we can accommodate all,” he said.