With normalcy returning to Kerala after the floods and landslides that took more than a hundred lives, the focus has once again shifted to ‘Rebuild Kerala’, an initiative for rebuilding the state after the 2008 floods. However, the focus just shadows around developing infrastructure and building townships despite focussing on a larger perspective of sustainable growth.
The Left government, which says that the focus of ‘rebuild Kerala’ was a resilient and green Kerala, the environmentalist doubt if resilient only meant developing roads, constructing houses and townships.
Rebuild Kerala focuses mainly on ensuring higher standards of infrastructure and livelihood against any future disasters. However, the environmentalists feel that the state government has said nothing of a sustainable future but has only talked of higher standards of infrastructure building. Though the government talks of taking a few steps in protecting the Forest and the environment, the environmentalists feel the whole initiative lacked a vision of arresting future natural calamities.
Stating that constructing homes for those who have lost everything in the floods and landslides, repairing roads and bridges, financial aid to farmers and others are all needed, they said that it was equally important to look into the future aspects. “A resilient development doesn’t mean that Kerala is being capable of withstanding the natural fury of tomorrow. The coming years are not going to be the same,” they said.
Pointing out that the state was experiencing drastic climate change, they say that the government should have also included this aspect and the issues related to this should have been given prominence. Moreover, they also alleged that the government that talks of protecting the forests has to first take a firm stand on the quarries and mining activities near the forests and the Western Ghats. Despite the experience of floods and landslides, which has been mainly triggered by mining and quarry activities, the government had been so liberal in giving permits to quarries. It has to be noted that the government, which has banned all quarries after the lansdslips in Kavalapara and Puthumala, has revoked the ban. If the government was that serious of resilient Kerala, it would not have revoked the ban within ten days of the ban, they said.
Talking to www.indianf.conm, environment activist C M JoY said that the government was not serious about rebuilding Kerala from the floods. “They are not actually looking at the root cause of the calamity and finding solutions to it. Instead, they are just going after infrastructure development that could only lead to more disasters. I am not against development but it should be sustainable,” he said.
Moreover, he was also critical of the Chief Minister and others roaming the world in the name of rebuild Kerala. “What is that they have brought from the countries that they had visited. It was a waste of money and noting has been down till now in the name of rebuild Kerala,” he said.
He also alleged that the government was so magnanimous in taking a rented building, which itself is embroiled in controversy, in the name of Rebuild Kerala.
Meanwhile, Ravi chalakudy says that the government cannot go ahead with rebuild kerala without ignoring climate change. “The government had said that the 2018 floods was because of rains and never said anything about climate change. When looking at the data, we can find that climate change has its impact on the state. Even after the recent floods, the government seems to have taken the least notice of the impact of climate change,” he said.
Noting that he was not against building homes for those who lost them in the floods, Ravi said that rebuilding kerala doesn’t just mean building homes, constructing roads and townships. “The government should have to focus on sustainable ways. The government has built some homes and repaired a few roads. But they have not done anything concrete. The government is not thinking in a larger perspective of how to go in a sustainable way.