Epitome of commitment defines Chandy’s visionâ€¨â€¨Staff Reportâ€¨â€¨Age has not caught up with him; the 70-year old veteran of Kerala politics and the incumbent Chief Minister of Kerala, Oomen Chandy, looks much younger both in appearance and spirit. It is this steady defiance that speaks volume of this great man who has survived against all odds.â€¨â€¨Chandy is not idealistic nor crusading or dominating. Yet in his simple personal charms like pragmatism, helpfulness and fairness, Oomen Chandy is evolving every day. From a leader who would earlier shy away from speaking his mind, in favor of keeping a fragile consensus, the Chandy one meets today is distinctly assertive.
â€¨The veteran of Kerala politics is now more measured and precise than he has ever been. As Kerala undergoes a silent transformation in its economy, under the leadership of Chandy, development and infrastructure projects have taken a priority. In a vision for a better Kerala that he wants to implement, Chandy is undaunted by any obstacles. Reflecting his commitment and zeal, Chandy has been pushing for Air Kerala Company, his most ambitious low-cost airline project.â€¨â€¨"Air Kerala will be a reality," he remarks when asked about the feasibility and possibility of it. "I have no doubt in my mind that one day it will happen and we are pursuing very hard with the Centre to make it a reality."
â€¨Chandy points out at the laws governing licensing of such a carrier and says he has written to the Centre to make an exception. "It is currently under study and we are hopeful," he points out. â€¨Indian aviation laws require an airline to fly domestic routes prior to being granted international route license. This says Chandy is neither feasible nor possible as the airline will lose more than Rs 30 crores in domestic operations, before even starting to serve Keralites in the Gulf.â€¨â€¨Chandy proudly indicates that availability of capital is no longer an issue. The whole world is willing to invest in Kerala if given the right opportunity. Even investors in India and Kerala are ready to invest in projects, and with the improved labor environment in Kerala the state has become fertile ground for investment.
However, he says that feedback from investors point out that Kerala still lacks modern infrastructure, and even though we have improved a lot, still more needs to be done. That is why the government has given utmost thrust to developing infrastructure. Under Chandy, substantial progress has been made in some of the largest developmental projects ever undertaken in Kerala such as the Smart City, Kochi, Mono Rail at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, International Airport at Kannur, High Rail Corridor, Vizhinjam International, Deep-Sea Container Terminal and the Kochi Metro Rail Project.
Chandy has hosted two major summits in the last six months thrusting Kerala into prominence among global Indians and Keralites. The Emerging Kerala Meet from 12 – 14 September, 2012 held to showcase the projects and opportunities for investment in Kerala was a resounding success with investment proposals and expression of interests for more than Rs 40,000 crores received at the meet. The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD 2013) held from 7 – 9 January, 2013, drew about 2000 global Indians to Kochi, many of whom expressed a keen interest in starting projects in Kerala. The state has also established an investment promotion council and promotion board for fast tracking investment proposals.
Chandy’s interest for overseas Keralites is one of genuine concern. “Considering the fact that majority of the non-resident Keralites are in the unskilled and semi-skilled workers category, especially in the Gulf countries, his government has initiated a number of welfare measures for the benefit of the expatriate population of the state such as the Pravasi Kshema Nidhi and Pravasi Pension and Accident Insurance Coverage. These efforts compliment the Ministry of Overseas Indian schemes. Other welfare schemes such as the Santhwana and Chairman’s Fund are also being implemented for the benefit of the poorer section of returned Non-Resident Keralites. In addition a benefit scheme for returnees for their livelihood is also being launched shortly.
Kerala, with its early advances in social sector, occupies a unique position in the country. Their human development indicators are the highest. The state has the highest literacy, high life expectancy and low infant mortality. The state also has a more peaceful industrial atmosphere, comparatively lower crime rate, a significantly higher transparency and therefore lesser corruption in the government, as well as better avenues of quality education and healthcare available to the masses. Kerala has always emphasized equitable growth and sustainable resource utilization for its economic progress with special emphasis on being green and environmental friendly.
On his 45 years of public leadership and service Chandy reiterates that doing all possible good deeds is important and one will get surprisingly good results over the long run from such efforts. He points out from his own personal experience that to succeed to be productive leader, infinite patience is required and it is important not to be swayed but to keep the course. “When attacked by anyone publicly or privately, I tend not to retaliate but to ponder deeply whether there is a merit in his arguments, and would be the first to patch up if it has even the slightest merit.”
In conclusion Chandy says life has time and again proved to him that all setbacks are for the ultimate good and based on that comes the final lesson, which is to remain optimistic always.
-The Times Kuwait Report