Kerala looks forward to 2022 with startup ambitions

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However, the Left Front that has wrested many seats from the Congress and UDF in the recent bypoll is hoping that it would wrest Trikkakara from the Congress as well…reports Asian Lite News.

Kerala, which faced back-to-back floods, landslides, Covid, Nipah virus, and Ockhi cyclone since 2018, is having high hopes from 2022 as several projects are lined up and youngsters in large numbers are entering into start-up ventures.

After Congress leader and sitting legislator P.T. Thomas passed away on December 22, 2021, battling cancer at CMC Vellore, Trikkakara assembly seat is lying vacant.

The first major challenge for the political class will be an election on this Congress turf. The election has to be held before June 2022 and many senior Congress leaders are eyeing the seat. Uma, wife of Thomas is also a probable candidate for the election.

P T Thomas

However, the Left Front that has wrested many seats from the Congress and UDF in the recent bypoll is hoping that it would wrest Trikkakara from the Congress as well.

Given the huge mass participation at the funeral of Thomas, Congress has high hopes of retaining the seat while Left Front led by CPI (Marxist) is hoping that in the absence of Thomas, it has a chance to win the seat.

Another major political development in the offing in Kerala is end of the Rajya Sabha term of senior Congress leader and former defence minister A.K. Antony.

Antony’s term will come to an end in April 2022 and given the present strength in the assembly, of the three vacancies, LDF can win two and UDF one seat. While Antony has openly said in several interactions that he will not seek re-election and will settle in Kerala.

Political analyst Roy Mathew, while speaking to IANS said: “You can’t predict what is in the mind of a leader like A.K. Antony who can spring a surprise by seeking a re-election and if he throws his hat in the ring, that means he is the candidate and we can’t rule out that possibility.”

Tourism in Kerala is expected to get a boost under the leadership of Minister for Tourism Mohammed Riyas, who is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Riyas, who is in-charge of PWD, has thrown open the rooms of PWD rest houses to the general public at a nominal rate, thus earning revenue.

Riyas has already issued a new project ‘Caravan Tourism which is expected to grab a special place in the global tourism map like the house boat tourism that had brought laurels to the state.

The state is also planning film tourism by promoting certain spots that had become popular after being depicted in Bollywood movies like Athirapally waterfalls, Bekal fort, Kovalam lighthouse, Munnar, and other destinations. In effect, Kerala is trying to piggy-ride on the popularity of movies to lure domestic tourists in large numbers through the season.

The FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 and the soccer-crazy population of the state has already booked tickets to see a live performance of legends like Leonel Messy, Napier, and other greats of the football world.

With a huge expatriate population of Malayalees in the Middle East, this World Cup would probably be the first with a predominant Keralite population in the galleries.

The major controversy plaguing the state is the Semi High-speed rail or K-rail that has become a bone of contention between the ruling class and the opposition with the BJP that is ruling the Central government also opposing the project.

With a proposal of more than 1,00,000 crore project, the naysayers are of the opinion that this project would be a white elephant meant only to make fast bucks by the ruling class.

The greens also opposed the project, saying that it would lead to more destruction of wetlands and boring of hills will lead to a further imbalance of the fragile ecosystem of the state. They have advanced apprehensions that this would lead to landslips in the future.

The flagship project of Vizhinjam International Container Transshipment Terminal will not be commissioned in 2022 as the Adani ports have requested the state government for more time and will be commissioned in early 2023 while almost all the remaining work will be completed by 2022. The first international vessel is expected to reach the transhipment project on March 23, 2023.

The first All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is likely to commence construction at Kinalur in Kozhikode and the Wayanad Government Medical college is also expected to kickstart construction in 2022 in the hill district of Kerala with a predominantly tribal population and lacking health infrastructure.

Information Technology has been a driving force for the highly educated state since the mid-1990s and the state is planning more technoparks in both the government and private sectors to increase production.

Interestingly, pandemic period also witnessed huge growth in the IT sector while all the other sectors had taken a back seat and this exactly is the reason why the government is keen to promote the sector.

The Thiruvananthapuram Technopark, the first park in the country is in an expansion mode and the Phase III of the park is likely to be completed in November 2022 with almost all the space already being filled before the work is completed.

TCS, Tech Mahindra, and IBM are also setting up major infrastructure in the state by the end of 2022.

Thar SUV (Photo: @Mahindra_Thar /Twitter)

Agriculture sector that has been on a backburner in state is looking up with several Farm Producer Cooperatives coming up in all areas of the state with the support of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and many of these Farm cooperatives are involved in making value-added products from tapioca, banana and jack fruit and is earning export revenue.

The Balaramapuram handloom which has been a traditional weaving cluster of the state is also looking up with the Hollywood fashion designer Sanjana John making a documentary and promising the weavers that she would display their product at the Oscar award-winning function. Union Minister of State for External affairs V. Muraleedharan, who hails from Kerala, had taken the initiative in this regard.

While Covid and its new variant Omicron are a cause of worry to the people and the authorities, the state is well poised to move ahead with more vaccinations to older people and children alike.

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