Thiruvananthapuram: Governor Nikhil Kumar has come out with a lacklustre policy statement, throwing in a few schemes such as setting up of mini regional cancer centres in all government medical colleges and a talent hunt at primary school level in his customary New Year address to the Assembly on Friday.
An assurance to open the SmartCity Kochi project by March 2015 offering 12,000 jobs and setting up a Global Advisory Council of NRKs on the lines of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council to utilise the expertise were some of the highlights of the Governor’s address.
Making an indirect reference to the solar scam-related agitations, the Governor said that the government had handled agitations in the highest democratic traditions even though on many occasions the agitations grossly breached the bounds of dignity and order and have even endangered the lives and compromised the rights and freedom of the people.
“One cannot comment on increasing fissiparous tendencies to resort to subterfuge and insinuations for political advantage even on matters where the honourable courts of the land have seen it appropriate to intervene.”
He said that as part of combating the high rate of cancer in the state, the surgical oncology, radiotherapy and radiation physics departments of all government medical colleges will be merged and upgraded into mini RCCs. A bill for converting the National Institute of Speech and Hearing into a university will be moved in the House soon.
The Opposition shouted slogans demanding the resignation of CM Oommen Chandy for his alleged nexus with the solar scam accused and protesting against the increasing price hike of cooking gas and essential commodities.
Next: The misses stood out
The misses stood out
R. Ayyappan | DC
Thiruvananthapuram: This year the Governor's address did not mention two subjects that were part of last year's address: the state's chief mentor, Sam Pitroda and the Right to Service Act and the Nirbhaya scheme to save women and children in distress.
Delivering the Governor's address a month after the shocking Delhi rape in December 2012, Nikhil Kumar's predecessor H R Bharadwaj had spoken about the Nirbhaya project with a sense of urgency that reflected the national mood.
"My government is saddened by the growing atrocities against women and the gruesome events in the recent past symbolised by the tragic death of the brave young lady," Bharadwaj had said.
He had described Nirbhaya as "a comprehensive policy declaration that asserts the right of every woman to live without fear and with respect." The first Nirbhaya shelter home had opened and Bharadwaj promised more. But barely a year later, not a single other shelter has been opened, and the safety of women did not figure in Governor Nikhil Kumar's speech.
PITRODA OUT OF FAVOUR
Sam Pitroda too got short shrift. Some of the Pitroda's initiatives were "already well on the path of successful implementation" the then Governor has declared last year. But since none of them has attained fruition since then, it was only natural that Pitroda's ten big ideas were not mentioned in the Governor's list of achievements on Friday.
RIGHT TO SERVICE LAGS
The Right to Service Act, which Bharadwaj had called "momentous" and "historic" last year, was also not found worthy of mention. And understandably so. Though more than 75 departments have notified the services to be offered under the Act in the last 10 months, none has begun implementation. Severe shortage of staff and stiff opposition from the service organisations are said to be the reasons.
SEAPLANE STILL GROUNDED
The seaplane service was the other big claim that was buried in this year's Governor's address. Last year, the Governor said that seaplane services will be fully operational in 2013. Nothing has happened after the inaugural take-off in June 2013.The solar roof-top project, a major announcement last time, got only a perfunctory mention, without any specifics.
...AND THE USUAL
There were innumerable repetitions, too. Trivandrum Research and Engineering Research Park, which the Governor said would come up in the College of Engineering in 2013, has been rechristened Thiruvananthapuram Engineering Science and Technology Research Park in this year's address.
The Innovation Zone of last year is this year's Kerala Technology Innovation Zone. Airport expansion and Kozhikode City Road Improvement are two development schemes that the last address promised to begin in 2013, and they were repeated this year too.
Last year Bharadwaj had promised an international conference on local governance in 2013. It didn't happen and Nikhil Kumar has repeated the promise.
Next: Opposition said it with placards and posters
Opposition said it with placards and posters
Thiruvananthapuram: The opening day of the budget session of the state assembly began on Friday with the Opposition shouting slogans during the Governor's address, demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in connection with the solar scam, and protesting against the increase in the price of cooking gas and other commodities.
The Opposition also alleged that the Governor's policy address did not focus on the genuine issues being suffered by the people. The Opposition members went to the House bearing placards, posters and banners. As soon as Governor Nikhil Kumar began his address at 9 a.m. the leader of the Opposition Achuthanandan stood up and demanded the resignation of the chief minister, and condemned the price hike.
The Governor, however, went ahead with his address. Subsequently other Opposition members stood up and started shouting slogans and raising placards and banners. This continued for about 10 minutes.
As the Governor's address concluded, the Opposition again raised slogans. Members of the treasury benches who had sat quietly till the Governor left the House, later countered by shouting "Chakku!" a reference to the alleged nexus between the CPM and the controversial businessman V. M. Radhakrishnan alias Chakku Radhakrishanan.
Achuthanandan later told reporters that the Governor's address was just old wine in a new bottle. "The absence of any steps to address escalating prices of essential commodities exposed the lack of vision of the government.
Any specific mention of the Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports was also not made. The government's efforts to hang on to power have been revealed once again," said Opposition leader Achuthanandan. CPI (M) leader Thomas Isaac said that though there was a fiscal crisis, the Governor's address did not mention it....