Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kodiyeri calls for consensus on SEZs

Staff Reporter

KOTTAYAM: The Investor Meet organised by Kerala State Industrial
Development Corporation (KSIDC) and the Kerala Infrastructure
Development Corporation (KINFRA) has elicited healthy response from
prospective entrepreneurs.

According to organisers, 32 entrepreneurs have signed memorandum of
understanding with KSIDC which, when it materialises, would bring in
investment to the tune of Rs.576-crore to the district. Meanwhile,
KINFRA, at their proposed Industrial Development Park being planned at
Nattakom, has elicited investment worth Rs.750 crore, organisers said.

Earlier, Minister for Home and Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan stressed
the need to arrive at a consensus on the issue of Special Economic Zones
(SEZ) in the State.

Inaugurating the Investor Meet here, the Minister said the initiatives
the State had taken in the Information Technology (IT) sector have been
affected by the special privileges provided by the SEZ that have come up
in other States. The present provisions in the concerned Acts would have
to be amended to suite the special circumstances prevailing in the State.

Land had always been a problem, and the present stipulation of minimum
1,000-acre land for a SEZ was not practical in Kerala, he pointed out.

He asked the delegates not to wait for the Government to acquire land
for future investments, as it would lead to inordinate delay and other
complications, but procure land on their own and approach the Government
so that the authorities would be able to speed up the follow up.

In his keynote address, Minister for Industries Elamaram Karim said the
proposed Infrastructure Kerala Ltd., a Rs.100-crore infrastructure
development company being set up with the public-private participation,
will become operative soon. The company being envisaged in the line of
Cochin International Airports Ltd. (CIAL) would strive to raise
Rs.10,000 crore through public deposits.

According to Mr Karim, the approach and attitude of the trade unions to
issues have changed, but the image of the State as an investment-hostile
destination lingers on.Efforts need to be made to change this image and
media has an important role to play in this regard, he said.


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