At a time when politicians, specifically ministers tend to ignore queries and comments by people on social media, Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeev has given detailed answers to queries raised by a social media group in an open letter enquiring the status of several projects in Kerala.
A Facebook page “Kochi Next” raised several questions to Minister Rajeev in the open letter asking about the status of the projects like Gift City, Kochi Maritime Cluster, TCS Campus Project at Kakkanad, Electronics Park at Amballur, Science City at Kalamassery and Infopark Phase III.
In a reply to the letter, Minister Rajeev wrote in a FB post that he welcomes public audit of the government’s performance and constructive criticism.
To each query, he wrote
1. Kochi-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor is one of our flagship projects. The first node of the project is a manufacturing hub at Palakkad. 1138 acres of land has been acquired for this purpose. A Central grant and an approval of the Union Cabinet are required for the project.
2. Gift City is the second node. Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for acquisition of 500 acres of land for Gift City. Following protests from local residents, the land required for the project has been cut short to 360 acres but the compensation rose to Rs 850 crore. As the expenditure for land acquisition increased to Rs 350 crore, the approval of various departments and KIFB needs to be obtained again. The proposal needs to be approved by the Cabinet. Other steps for land acquisition are almost complete. The acquisition is expected to be completed by September, subject to all approvals. Along with this, KINFRA is into preparation of DPR and seeking approval for road and metro connectivity through Gati Shakti.
3. Negotiations for setting up a Maritime cluster are progressing. A Maritime Cluster draft document has been prepared to evaluate a short-term plan and determine the long-term potential of the role of MSMEs in supporting the Shipyard in delivering various major orders.
4. The land for TCS Campus at Kakkanad has been fully leased out to them. TCS has paid the statutory fees in full. TCS is said to be finalising the design for the project and they are expected to start construction soon.
5. For the electronics park, 30 acres of land belonging to Rayons at Mavoor have already been handed over through liquidator. A special project has been formed to look into the feasibility of setting up electronics and semiconductor industrial clusters. Keltron and India Electronics and Semiconductor Association have formed a special system to look into it. Their representatives visited the place the other day. The land identified at Amballoor will be handed over to the academic wing of the Fisheries Department. KSIDC has been tasked to check whether there is appropriate land available at Amballoor for setting up an electronics park.
6. For the Science Park at Kalamassery, steps have been initiated to purchase the required land from FACT. Each park will be developed in collaboration with a university and industry stakeholders. Digital University is leading the Digital Science Park. The government will examine the suggestions of different stakeholders before finalising it.
Rajeev concluded his post saying that the government is not currently considering the Infopark Phase III project as there is an IT Corridor project expanding from Kakkanad to Koratty in Thrissur and Cherthala in Alappuzha.