Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been at the centre of every action that has earned either praise or criticism over the past one year. One of the years many highlights was his mass contact programme that ensured fast disposal of nearly three lakh petitions from the public.
Soon after he assumed office,Chandy put his office online 24×7 as a token of transparency,but this commitment to fight corruption was offset by another of his decisions. When at least three cases of corruption in the government surfaced one involving a former chief secretary,Chandy ignored Vigilances advice and refused permission to prosecute the accused.
The induction of a fifth minister from the Muslim League led to allegations that it was a communal balancing exercise,with Chandy dividing key departments among Hindu,Muslim and Christian ministers and officials,and that parties representing minority groups have the larger clout.
In tune with the government slogan development and care,compensation for victims of various tragedies or atrocities formed part of cabinet decisions,week after week,irrespective of eligibility. Everywhere,people with petitions flocked to Chandy who heard them till past midnight. But when he gave a student admission to an engineering college against set regulations,the Opposition forced him to withdraw.
The two-decade-old palmolein case presented Chandy a brief headache after a court ordered his role be probed. Later,he got a High Court reprieve.
One of the failures of the government has been in flushing out encroachers from forest and revenue land,with the government ratifying encroachment of tribal land and creating an impression that it is succumbing to every pressure group.
Again,no development project has been launched all year,though the government has kept alive discussions on the Kochi Metro rail,a high-speed rail corridor and monorail networks in two cities. The government has been silent on several major projects the previous one had nursed,including the Smart City that has missed its deadline once again.
A slew of new welfare schemes have been launched while others,such at rice at Re 1,have been made more popular. But the government appears not to have made any serious effort to revive infrastructure projects that are still in a limbo due to resistance to land acquisition. The national highway development project has not moved ahead because of resistance to toll collection.