Sunday, 1 February 2009

Kerala's Communist Government Gives Crores-worth of Free Land to Churches in pre-Election Dole

Malayala Manorama daily has reported on 1st February that the Kerala Government has completed procedures to allot free land to private schools and colleges run by Christian and Moslem religious institutions in the State. Some of these are already housed in government land that has been technically leased to them. The lease amounts have not been paid by these institutions for decades and the arrears come to hundreds of crores of Rupees. No government dares to recover the dues out of fear of minority community protests.

One funny thing about these minority educational institutions is that they are on government land, and are built with money collected from the public. The annual maintenance, providing of all study utilities and salary payment of all staff members are done by the government. However, appointment of all staff and admission of students is a prerogative of the Churches and Moslem Mahals, who are recognised as owners of the institutions. A College teacher’s job involves a bribe of around Rs 20-25 lakhs to the owners; a school teacher pays Rs 10 lakhs. Medical College admissions are 15 lakhs to 30 lakhs. Additional privileges as are allowed to minority institutions are also enjoyed.

Land is an unavailable commodity in small Kerala and inability to obtain or attach required land is the main cause of retrogression of its industrialisation. Projects like the Smart City ran into trouble because of squabbles about unequal sharing of spoils from the allotment of free government land. Average cost of land in Kerala is Rs. 10000/- per Cent [40m2 ]. In towns and cities, and around institutions and projects, there is no determinable limit to land cost. At District Head Quarters, average is around one crore Rupees per Cent [40m2 ].

KP Rajendran, Kerala Revenue minister, has told the Malayala Manorama that St.Thomas College, St.Mary’s College, Christ College, St.Albert’s College, Ponnani Moslem Education Service College would be the initial beneficiaries. Other institutions will be accommodated as soon as they submit applications. 10 to 25 acres are expected to be thus allotted to each institution. An acre of land [an acre is 100 cents] in the vicinity of these colleges is valued at a minimum of 10 to 15 crores of Rupees.

Kerala has an LDF ministry and a CPM Education minister. In return for the land, the minority communities would support LDF candidates from the minority communities at the Parliamentary elections. Adequate financial compensation and accommodation through admissions and appointments are also offered by the education mafia.

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