We have survived the tragedy of the flood with catamarans of love and building bridges of co-existence. Barring vain attempts by those deep-rooted in hatred of the other, we grew gardens wherever flood waters travelled. How many exciting instances that flowed with the flood, and examples that aroused pride about what a beautiful word man is. The unity, cohesion, and preparedness that we evinced in the rescue operations became a marvel before the entire world.
Now, Malayalis should be able to build a new Kerala with the same unity. As the chief minister stressed, what we should do next is not just rehabilitation, but building a new Kerala. The coming days should be of setting a unique model when any one should be able to vouch that the flood has turned the Malayali society nobler and wiser. To this end, the government machinery, social movements and voluntary organizations should join ranks simultaneously. The chief minister will be there to take the initiative and lead the endeavour.
The first step of rebuilding Kerala will be forming a body incorporating experts of different related disciplines to get at the causes of the ravages of flood. A report from such an independent and transparent panel is essential for future Kerala. That should never be to measure the functional lapses of the existing government. All factors, starting from the governing methods we have been following for the last two decades, upto the approaches to development, are to be analysed scrupulously. Conventional models adopted in the sectors of agriculture and construction, and the consumerist culture are also to stand trial. The committee should be able to take at face value, and evaluate, the criticisms raised by Madhav Gadgil and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. The deficienies we have suffered from should not be repeated. Therefore, the declaration of an expert panel to go into the causes of the tragedy, should not be further delayed. For, the new Kerala should be one that is built by those who learn lessons from mistakes. The new Kerala should also get renewed everything from the attitude of each Malayali to aspects of governance.
If the making of a new Kerala is going to be an earnest effort, the coming few months should be a time of formulating ideas. Kerala has a strength of youth with rich international experience, and intellectual prowess. The master plan of the new Kerala should bear their hallmark too. The expatriate community should not be treated merely as a pack for remitting foreign exchange into Kerala. They have the creativity and richness of experience to build a novel Kerala, as shown in the expatriate community's intelligent use of social media for sending rescue groups to places marooned due to the flood. They are those who play leadership roles in world class companies and develop them. If we capitalize on the human intellect which we export to the world and their productivity to its full extent, within a few years the face of the land can be set right. This is not to say that the rebuilding efforts should wait until all such home work is completed. But, if we set about reconstructing all structures unscrupulously as done before, that would mean we have once again decided to raze more hills and spoil our rivers. That will lead to worse tragedes. In fact the price we are paying now is for not heeding the landslides and floods over the last two decades.
Post-flood Kerala also demands a big overhaul at the level of administration. In Kerala, with its bio-diversity and geological diversity, we will be able to keep natural disasters away only by revising rules regarding maintenance of agriculture and industrial construction in a precise and scientific manner. Different approaches and laws may have to be formulated for utilization of resources, depending on considerations specific to locale. Residential locations and agricultural/industrial areas will need to be demarcated. In short, only a people and government ready to fully transform themselves can build an environmentally friendly new Kerala. The flood has woken us up. What we need next is will power. If we once again evince the resilience we displayed to overcome the flood waters, a new Kerala will not be an unachievable dream.