Thiruvananthapuram : Putting up a sense of happiness in accomplishments, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government's four-year journey has been eventful and expressed satisfaction that he was able to give to the people what was promised in the election manifesto. However, the Congress-led opposition dismissed this saying Kerala has been destroyed in all respects during Vijayan's rule.
"What we planned to do in 5 years, we could do in 4 years," said Vijayan while addressing the media on completion of four years in office. It was on this day in 2016 that Vijayan and his team were sworn in.
"We were able to achieve all this even when successive disasters hit the state -- starting from the Ockhi waves in 2017, followed by Nipah in 2018 and then the worst ever floods in 2018, followed by another flood in 2019. Then came Covid-19. Everywhere due to our steadfast determination we were able to fight all these disasters and moved forward. In our journey we received all round help from Keralaites all over the world," said Vijayan.
He said post Covid, Kerala by now has achieved a tag of being the safest place in all respects and many companies are now looking forward to come to Kerala.
"We have come out with a very favourable policy for investors, where in a week's time, we will give such investors the license to start their work," said Vijayan and added, "we are getting in touch with various Indian Embassies to make things easy for investors who are looking to invest in Kerala."
"Various committees are soon to be set up where nominees of foreign trade bodies (America, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Singapore) would be members. This would help in speeding up things for investors," added Vijayan.
He also pointed out that unlike 'others', his party's election manifesto was one which is meant to be achieved and not meant to be one, which is a document of promises, which will never be accomplished.
He said when the current fiscal began, we knew that there would be a 15 per cent hike in spending and for that we expected Centre to come to our help, but it did not happen.
"So we decided to rework our strategy and decided to re-energise KIFBI, where we raised Rs 50,000 crore outside of the budget and by now, we have given the green signal to Rs 54,291 crore worth of projects through it," Vijayan said.
He said one of the biggest achievements of his government is the formation of the Kerala Bank. "Despite lots of negative vibes from several quarters, we have set it up and it is now the second biggest bank in our state," said Vijayan.
On the state public sector enterprises, he said, they began with a loss of Rs 139 crore. "In the first year, the total losses were reduced to Rs 71 crore and at the end of the previous fiscal (2019-20), we had a working profit of Rs 56 crore, which is a handsome achievement," added Vijayan.
On the education front, he said, compared to the earlier situations, five lakh students sought admissions to state government schools. "In 4,752 schools, infrastructure was improved, 14,000 schools got connected to broadband and 45,000 classrooms turned hi-tech," said Vijayan.
Another achievement under him he said was fresh investment in the Startup which jumped from Rs 2.20 crore to Rs 875 crore.
Lauding police force, Vijayan said, "The police here have done a good job when it resolved numerous murder mysteries. And when it came to tackling Covid, they did a great work and it continues."
He said another feature of his government has been building 2,19,154 homes for the homeless.
"We planned to give 2 lakh title deeds to those who did not have land and by now 1.43 lakh people have been given and very soon another 35,000 more would be given," added Vijayan.
He said that Covid was a setback to the smooth progress of the state, but so far this pandemic has been handled well and the government will continue to tackle with strengths.
"The number of cases was down, but on expected lines, with the arrival of a good number of our people from abroad and within the country, the number of cases has now started to go up. This was on expected lines and we are fully geared up to deal with. If one looks into statistics, now on an average everyday there are 39 cases, but I am not going into the mathematical analysis of this," added Vijayan.
But the opposition Congress was not impressed. Its top leaders staged a protest in front of the State Secretariat and described Vijayan's tenure as the most disappointing one and had it not been for Covid, today would have been a day when extravagant celebrations would have been seen.
State Congress president Mulappally Ramachandran said when people in Kerala are suffering during Covid times, Vijayan has hiked bus fares and electricity charges.
"Never before has Kerala seen such an extravagant government and as a result the public debt has risen from Rs 1.57 lakh crore to Rs 2.50 lakh crore. This government has been an abject failure on all fronts," said Ramachandran.
Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan's tenure would go down as a government which engaged in scientific corruption.
"We have seen a few corrupt deals that were exposed by us. Today he is riding under Covid and feels none knows what's happening in Kerala. With just one more year to go, Kerala is presently neck deep in debts and this is going to be huge burden for the next government. The only thing that is happening here is a blatant PR exercise and the figures of a successful public sector enterprise are all a bluff. The re-build Kerala initiative following the 2018 floods is nothing but a hype and nothing has happened. This Vijayan government would go down as the one which has taken Kerala backwards in all respects," said Chennithala.