After playing out a disappointing draw against Delhi, Kerala will play Bengal in their second match in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season. Kerala were well and truly on top against Delhi but everything changed on day four as Delhi batsman started to counter attack on the slow Thumba pitch against a spin attack consisting of left-arm spinners Karaparambil Monish, Sijomon Joseph and off-spinner Jalaj Saxena.
The team will be happy with the return of Sanju Samson after the national duties and, he will be looking to score big runs to get his confidence going after warming the benches in the dugout of Team India for 6 T20I matches without playing a game.
Saxena continued his good form in Thumba, where he has taken 49 wickets including four five-wicket hauls, and he will be looking to continue this performance against the strong Bengal batting line-up. Sandeep Warrier once again did a fine job with the new ball as did K M Asif from the other end on his first class debut. But Sijomon Joseph and Monish had a bad outing in the second innings when the Delhi batsman decided to counter-attack them. Akshay Chandran could replace either of them against Bengal.
Round 1 of Ranji Trophy 2019-20 started with a snake entering the ground and ended with a thrilling finish in Dindigul. Here is a complete round-up of the last four days of the biggest domestic tournament in cricket.
Elite A and B Group:
Mumbai vs Baroda
Ask someone in Kerala about the Santosh Trophy or I M Vijayan and the odds are that you would get an eloquent speech that would also include the epic 1973 Santosh Trophy final win at the Maharaja’s College ground in Kochi, the 1992 comeback in Coimbatore and the most recent triumph at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata where they grabbed their sixth title win.
Football is a sport etched into the heart and soul of this state. Fans throng the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in yellow–the much adored ‘Manjappada’—to watch the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League year after year, despite their team’s underwhelming performances.
Cricket in Kerala
It is ironical that a state that boasts of state-of-the-art government and private hospitals fails to find competent doctors within its own geographical limits to heal even diabetes-related complications of its top politicians. So is the case when it comes to legal matters—the Kerala government prefers lawyers from the national capital to protect the ruling party’s interest in cases of sensational political murders. Splurging colossal amounts of money from the public exchequer on medical and legal aid is quite regular with the Kerala government.
If the data available with the Information and Public Relations department (IPRD) of the Kerala government is any indication, it has become the norm among the state’s ministers and legislators to fly off to top hospitals in the United States of America (USA) even for minor treatments, disregarding the state’s achievements in sectors of public health and medical education. Politicians across the spectrum, and the Left leaders in particular, prefer the USA for medical treatment, as they take a temporary break from their routine anti-imperialistic rhetoric. (Don’t ask inconvenient questions like why they wouldn’t prefer to seek treatment in the Communist haven of Cuba instead, with all its reputation in the field of medicine.)
Communist Party of India (Marxist) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the latest to find quality treatment for diabetes-related complications at Houston, in his capacity as a former legislator and state Home Minister. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and former Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, had availed treatment in the USA at government expenses in the recent months. However, nobody has broken the record set by former minister and LDF legislator Thomas Chandy, of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—a millionaire himself—in getting medical reimbursements. The cost of his treatment in the United States was a whopping Rs 1.91 crores. The rationale of politicians trooping to foreign locales for treatment using public money disregarding Kerala’s achievements in healthcare and the state’s dire financial straits is lost on many.
Kerala is perilously perched on a financial volcano that is ready to erupt any time. Finance minister T M Thomas Issac misses no opportunity to talk about the impending financial anarchy and blames it on the Centre ad nauseam. It may be politically expedient to do so, but the unfortunate reality is that the state has been following an unsustainable model of economic development.
With virtually no industrial and manufacturing base, there is no wealth creation in the state and as such, the government has only limited means to earn revenue. The revenue collection has remained static at 10 percent or below, but the expenditure has been mounting at 16 percent, which means that the collection has plummeted despite the steady growth in spending.
This has, however, not stopped the government from its prodigal ways of spending, for which it has to borrow from all kinds of sources, often at prohibitively high rates. With each borrowing, the public debt is ballooning and the per capita debt is already unduly high. The public debt is estimated to have nearly doubled from Rs 78,673.24 crore to Rs 1,50,000 crore in the five years from 2011 to 2016. This has further spiralled under the present government as it has gone on a borrowing spree.
Land Reforms legislation in Kerala was a watershed event and served a huge socio-economic purpose. But fifty years on, Kerala has done little to maximize the use of land in terms of productivity, housing, industries, forests etc. Whilst retaining the spirit of the Land Reforms, it must be examined how economies of scale can be achieved with all its attendant benefits of higher productivity by planned land use.
It’s pertinent that urban and rural areas must have a guideline for personal, industrial and civic use. As a state, do we really have a master plan for land use to serve as a guideline for corporations, municipalities and panchayats keeping in mind the density of population, topography, natural features and local needs? Admittedly, there ought to be a ‘zoning’ approach to planning. This is necessary to prevent geo-climatic disasters and reduce its impact on people.
Our higher density of population and lower land availability vis a vis other states is a reality and should call for pragmatic solution to development needs with regard to human aspirations. This calls for an interface management using adaptive techniques leveraging on technology. Industrial parks must ensure air, water pollution control measures, especially when habitation around industrial areas cannot be averted due to population/land availability.
Educational loans have caught large sections of South Indian youth in a debt trap and the problem is so acute that even if the recipients manage to repay the loans, they suffer life-long consequences, from which there is no easy escape.
The problem is particularly bad in the case of Kerala, with its high rate of literacy, where the aspirational value of education as a means of securing a better life is much stronger compared to many other states. Kerala also is one of the most exemplary examples of how education and certain professions have lifted whole communities out of the social and economic hierarchy.
It is no wonder, therefore, that Kerala accounts for the largest disbursement of educational loans by banks and financial institutions for any single state. Over half of total educational loans in India are disbursed in South India, according to rating agency Care Ratings; and Kerala and Tamil Nadu together account for 36 percent of all outstanding educational loans in the country, which gives an idea about the high dependence on bank finance for education in the two states. About 95 percent of the loans are provided by the public sector banks under priority lending, with State Bank of India leading the pack by far.
Kakkadampoyil is a small village located on the outskirts of the Western Ghats, on the eastern edge of Kozhikode district. Earlier this month, the news of an unruly mob assaulting a group of environmental activists and public intellectuals sent shock waves across the state. The incident took place on October 6, when a batch of 46 activists including M N Karassery, C R Neelakantan, Kusumam Joseph, K Ajitha and others were on a visit to the controversial check-dam and the water theme park set up by a company owned by P V Anwar, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-backed member of the Kerala Assembly, representing the Nilambur constituency.
Prof Kusumam Joseph recalled the way the violent mob encircled them at the park site, which had local politicians, including a CPI (M) branch secretary. She was physically manhandled by some of the hooligans who snatched her cellphone and forced her to delete pictures she had taken of the incident. “You run from here…,” said those who ganged up against the activists at Kakkadampoyil, and they asserted, “You don’t have to worry about our ecology, we will take care of the interests of our village…”
The police failed to take any action or provide protection to the activists who had informed the cops beforehand about their planned visit to the spot.