Kerala: `Project clearances won’t be bypassed`

Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy has said projects can be cleared within 90 days.

Kochi: Promising speedy clearance of various projects that come up at the three-day `Emerging Kerala` meet, to be inaugurated here by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 12, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy has said this does not mean that clearances would be bypassed to woo investors.

Projects can be cleared within 90 days. However, for certain projects which require the Central government and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances, more time would be needed, Chandy told reporters here yesterday.

But no clearance would be bypassed for any project and effort would be to ensure that projects do not get embroiled in `red tapism`, he said.

Chandy said no controversial projects would be entertained at the meet.

There has been opposition to the meet from various quarters including CPI-M-led LDF, environmentalists and a section from Congress with regard to various projects selected by the government to be showcased at the meet.

Chandy said he was saddened to note that some criticisms were based on `poor understanding of what the initiative was about and what we want to achieve through this`.

Pointing out that `Emerging Kerala` was not an investment meet in the conventional sense and was not an exclusive gathering of investors, he said the government was not holding the meet with the sole purpose of signing MOUs and agreements.

"It is a platform to highlight Kerala`s strengths to the world. It will also be a place to showcase the potential and opportunities in various sectors in Kerala," he said.

The government has drawn up a series of projects across more than two dozen sectors that have growth and investment potential. The mega infrastructural projects which have been identified include the high speed Rail corridor, Metro Rail, Monorail, airports and IT Parks.

All environment checks and balances will be built into the projects right from the planning stage. `We only support ventures that are eco friendly and non-polluting`, he said.

Over 2,500 participants from 52 countries, including China, US, Canada, Australia would take part in the meet.

Chandy said the government`s commitment to the PPP mode for Infrastructural development had given rise to unfounded allegations that the meet was a front for selling government land to private investors.

"We have no intention of selling government owned land to any private party for any of these projects. Land will be provided on lease with secure agreements and absolute ownership will remain with the state government. The land will be leased for 30 year period and may be increased by 5-10 years, but not more than that."

"There is no need to give land in all projects. If the projects do not come within a certain time limit and there is no progress in the project, the land will be taken back," he said, adding, agricultural land, including Paddy fields would not be used for the projects.

All environment checks and balances will be built into the projects right from the planning stage. "We only support ventures that are eco friendly and non-polluting," he said.

There are 26 focus sectors, including IT and IT Enabled Services, Knowledge, education sector, Tourism, Health care services, Manufacturing, Engineering and Automotive, Infotainment, Logistics and financial services.

The Chief Minister said the government has sought time with the Prime Minister to discuss Kerala issues during his visit. The cabinet would meet here on September 11 and 13 to look into the progress of the meet and suggestions which had come up.

Union Agricultural Minister, Sharad Pawar, Heath and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Urban Development Minister, Kamal Nath, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Shipping Minister G K Vasan will be among those attending the meet.

Prominent corporate heads and CEOs including Infosys executive chairman, S Gopalakrishnan, Infosys CEO SD Shibulal, Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, Tata Coffee chairman RK Krishna Kumar will also take part.


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