Railway track doubling plans get green signal
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who more than a week ago quite convincingly announced plans for achieving self-reliance in food by utilising all parcels of uncultivated land lying in the state, chose Monday to announce another set of ambitious plans for giving a major push to his industry dreams for the state.
The Kerala CM had good reasons to be upbeat on Monday though there has not been any let-down in the insidiously growing controversies pointing to financial profligacies and nepotism by the government he has been heading for close to four years.
More so as he could proudly announce 61 ‘cure’ cases of COVID 19 versus nil new emergence of positive cases on Monday leaving just 34 cases yet to turn negative in the state, when other states still stare at the ascending curves diffidently with daily ‘positive’ additions coming in droves.
Vijayan said to the press gathered to listen to his daily briefing on the COVID status that the good achievements in containing the COVID 19 has helped the state earn a good name and goodwill not only beyond the state boundaries but even in overseas.
“COVID 19 though has given us enough pains, we need also to look at the opportunities handed out by the good works we have done unitedly,” he informed the media-persons.
He said the government has decided to fast-track the industrial growth in the state by offering investors licences within a week on condition that they should complete the processes within a year. He said the state is getting a lot of enquiries from within and outside India seeking details and prospects of investment opportunities in Kerala.
With the rare distinction of operating four international airports by state viz. Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kannoor, the government has made up its mind to develop multi-storied logistics infrastructure in the precincts of these airports by offering multi-connectivity such as air, sea and road.
“The world class infrastructure we are planning to establish near these airports, I am sure, will position Kerala as a strong hub for overseas investment and international trade,” the CM exuded confidence.
The CM said an advisory council will be set up to spearhead the industrial investment in the state and thereby pave the way to convert the state into a strong industrial hub.
The panel will have representatives from industry leaders, policy experts and investment experts to advise the government on the new initiative.
Vijayan said he has plans to assign ranking to investors in the lines of star rating — such as gold, silver, bronze, etc, so that depending on the ranking on the volume of investments and employment generation, the government can extend additional incentives facilities to them.
In order to promote exports and imports, government is planning to establish logistics parks in different locations in the state. The expansion plan for Azhikal port is with specific view to promoting business culture in North Kerala.
There are plans afoot to promote value addition in agricultural products so that even surplus production can easily be absorbed, which in turn will incentivise farmers to take on agriculture more aggressively.
The space available in the Palakad mega food park will be made available for investors interested on lease basis. There will be a focused approach to make value added products in coconut and to support this, a coconut park has been conceived for North Kerala.
Green Signal for Rail-track Doubling
Pinarayi Vijayan said that Railway has decided to revive certain rail doubling projects that have been languishing for long in Kerala.
While the state has received Centre order for the Alappuzha-Kayamkulam railway line stretching 69 kmts at an investment of Rs1439 crore, the other lines that have got the nod for doubling are Ernakulam-Kumbalam (7.7 kmts) at Rs189 crore; Kumbalam-Thuravoor (15.59 kmts) at Rs250 crore and Thuravoor-Ambalapuzha (45.7 kmts) at Rs1000 crore.