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Kerala: Big blow for ‘Hub and Spoke’, CAG calls it a failure

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Thiruvananthapuram: The much publicised ‘hub and spoke’ Kerala model for IT development has turned a cropper, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said.

It was learnt from the report, which was tabled in Kerala assembly on Monday (June 29) and made available on Thursday, that 80.76 percent of the built up area at seven locations remained unallocated as the land acquired was mainly in remote localities and not suitable for IT purposes.

Speaking to IANS on Thursday, Kerala IT secretary P.H. Kurian said that they are doing their best to showcase these locations to prospective investors.

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The CAG audit reports pointed out that it was as per the IT Policy 2007 that envisaged creation of a ‘hub and spoke model’ of IT development with two large IT parks at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi functioning as the hub for smaller IT parks in other parts of the state.

The CAG report said that KSITL acquired 402.65 acres of land at seven different places in the state to set up the ‘hub and spoke’ model for IT development.

The IT Policy 2007 came when V.S. Achuthanandan-ruled Left government was in office from 2006-11.

Incidentally, it was the state-owned Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which was responsible for the development of IT cities in the public private partnership model and had set up these new IT parks under the ‘hub and spoke’ model.

“The land acquired was mainly in remote localities and was not suitable for IT purpose. As a result 320.66 acres of land was not allotted till-November 2014,” said the CAG report.

Incidentally, the state government incurred a cost of Rs.229.88 crore for acquisition of land and for developing infrastructure facilities in these seven locations.

The seven locations include Kundara (Kollam district),Ambalappuzha and Cherthala (both in Alappuzha district), Koratty (Ernakulam), Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod.

Of these, at Amabalapuzha, Kannur and Kasargod, the land has been acquired, while at the other places, the percentage of idling of land was as high as 77.34 percent.

(IANS)

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Indian Catholic Nuns Call Out For Justice In Kerala

The protest, now in its sixth day in Kochi, Kerala's financial hub, is gathering momentum as the locals, activists, writers and politicians come out in support.

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Nuns hold placards during a protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, India. VOA

A group of Indian Catholic nuns are staging a rare street protest in the southern state of Kerala demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop.

Police have called the bishop named in the complaint for a second round of questioning next week. The bishop has denied wrongdoing.

The case comes at a time when the Christian community, which accounts for 19 percent of the state’s population, is reeling under an erosion of trust as sexual abuse cases involving the clergy pile up.

Five priests were arrested last month in two different sexual assault cases, while last year, a Catholic priest who was trying to flee the country was arrested after a minor he is accused of having sex with gave birth.

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Catholic bishops in Chile resign over the issue of sex scandal. Pixabay

The nun in a letter said she wanted the Vatican to intervene. She said she was forced to make matters public after several attempts to seek justice from within the church failed.

The protest, now in its sixth day in Kochi, Kerala’s financial hub, is gathering momentum as the locals, activists, writers and politicians come out in support.

A man, who is on an indefinite hunger strike, lay in front of the stage where the protesting nuns sat. A nun coordinating the protest dismissed allegations that they were trying to disgrace the church.

“Our fight is for the truth. We will not back out unless the truth is established and the nun is given justice,” she told Reuters.

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Pope Francis. Pixabay

The Catholic Church in Germany acknowledged a “depressing and shameful” legacy of sexual abuse on Wednesday after a leaked study said clerics had abused thousands of children over 70 years.

Also Read: Drying Ganga Can Hinder India From Achieving SDG’s

The leaked study was published on the day that Pope Francis, who has made several attempts to tackle a spreading sexual abuse crisis that has badly tarnished the Church’s image worldwide, summoned senior bishops from around the world to the Vatican to discuss the protection of minors. (VOA)

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