The Kitex Garments’ decision to abandon its Rs 262 crore expansion plans in Kerala owing to alleged political harassment, has kicked up a fresh row regarding the industrial climate in the state. The announcement made by the company, hardly two weeks after the much-hyped ‘Emerging Kerala’ investor meet, has come as a shocker for the government.
In a statement issued here, Kitex Garments Ltd managing director Sabu M Jacob announced the decision to shelve the company’s proposed expansion plans for the Kizhakambalam unit, pointing out the harassment being faced from local self government bodies, state government and its various departments. The expansion plans will now be implemented in Sri Lanka and China, he said.
“Kitex Garments Ltd was in the process of constructing an apparel park on 50 acres of land. If implemented, the project would have provided employment to around 4,000 people.
“The bank loan was sanctioned and orders have been placed for the new machinery. However, the ill-treatment meted out to us by some local politicians is forcing us to abandon the project,” he said.
Though the issue was brought to the Chief Minister’s attention, there was no outcome. That is when the company decided to drop its expansion plans, Sabu Jacob pointed out, adding that the existing political scenario in the state is not favourable for export-based industries. The single-window licensing system has not been effective.
“An application filed by the company in connection with the construction of the main gate, has been pending for the last 11 months. For each licence, there are major delays,” Sabu Jacob said. The government is not providing a suitable industrial climate for successful industrialists in Kerala, he added.
Sabu Jacob alleged that the UDF-ruled panchayat failed to renew their industrial licence for no specific reason. Coming down heavily on the politicians, the Kitex Garments MD said that even local politicians could be troublesome to industries.
“During the UDF rule, a local politician can create hindrances to the industrial plans. There has been political intervention at all levels and the police are completely ineffective. The panchayat administration has been abusing its powers, thereby blocking industries. There are vested interests behind the political moves,” Sabu said.