Our congratulations to the Honorable MP of Thiruvananthapuram, Dr. Tharoor, on his new responsibility as Minister of State for Human Resources Development. We hope that this well-deserved and long-overdue appointment will help Dr. Tharoor in his mission to bring greater development to his constituency. Now, we in Thiruvananthapuram are used to the dastardly hijacking of some of the projects that have been conceptualized and planned for Thiruvananthapuram, to other parts of Kerala, in the name of communal or parochial votebank politics. Some of them like Indian Institute of Space Technology have been successfully resisted and bought to fruition, despite the attempts of vested interests of all kinds to the contrary.
But then we have also had quite a few “friendly hijacks” that unfortunately succeeded, including the sad cases of IIT-Madras satellite campus and the National Institute of Mental Health, in addition to the latest case of key Railway offices being spirited out of the Divisional HQ at Thiruvananthapuram.
Considering all of this water under the bridge, it’s best to move on and look forward to what can be done to remedy some of these past wrongs and to bring to fruition some of the newer development initiatives that have been conceptualized or are at various stages of execution in and around Thiruvananthapuram. In his new role, Dr. Tharoor can play an even more influential and energetic role in these initiatives. Some initiatives may be directly related to the Ministry of Human Resources while others would make use of Dr. Tharoor’s enhanced ability to influence members of the Union Cabinet from within.
Here is our forward-looking wishlist for Thiruvananthapuram in descending order of priority:
1) Facilitating the Environmental Clearance for the Vizhinjam deep water port and container transshipment terminal; ensuring Central support such as Cabotage waiver and infrastructure support from NHAI and Indian Railways.
2) Expediting the execution of the NH-66 widening project and Central support for the Thiruvananthapuram MRTS project.
3) Knowledge City project – Starting from Sam Pitroda’s vision, MoHRD can support the creation of a world-class master plan and facilitate the involvement of world-class knowledge institutional partners
4) Enhance the funding for IISER, NIIST, IIST, IGNOU and so on, to enable them to expand their focus into more areas of research vital to the National interest; expedite the establishment of the long-delayed Indian Institute of Molecular Sciences
5) Tie-ups with central govt research programs for prominent engineering schools of Thiruvananthapuram like College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram and Central assistance for the establishment of the Trivandrum Engineering Research and Technology (TREST) park at CET which involves cutting-edge research centers and incubators.
6) Execution of Pax Indica: An Indian version of a Brookings Institute or Council on Foreign Relations, situated in Thiruvananthapuram a bit away from New Delhi’s busy policy making circuits
7) Tie-ups with European or American Conservatories, Ateliers, Architecture schools and Film schools to enhance co-operation with prominent arts institutions in Thiruvananthapuram like College of Fine Arts, Swathi Thirunal College of Music etc in matters of fine-arts
We also look forward to your own suggestions to add to this list.
Once again, here is wishing good luck to Dr. Tharoor in his new role and hoping for the very best for Thiruvananthapuram in the next 15 months.