On the lines of the much-hyped ‘Emerging Kerala’ proposed by the Industries Department in 2012, the state Department of Urban Affairs (DUA) is all set to host ‘Partner Kerala’, an urban development meet, next month for inviting investment from private parties for the development of major cities across the state.
The two-day meet will be held at Le Meridien Convention Centre here on December 19 and 20. Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali pointed out that it is an attempt at mobilising resources for cash-strapped city corporations that are unable to keep pace with the rising demand for amenities in rapidly expanding cities.
“Hundreds of potential investors are expected to take part in the meet that will showcase investment opportunities across a number of areas. We have 60 projects ready from various municipal corporations worth `4,387 crore. The DUA is expecting to rake in investments worth at least `2,000 crore for over 100 key projects through the meet which will attract investments into projects intended at developing basic infrastructure from socially-committed investors,” he said.
Projects best suited for the layout, density and geography of each city will be presented at the event, the Minister said.
He said Kerala has already set an example for other states in resource allocation and strengthening local self-governments through decentralised planning. However, the biggest challenge facing local governing bodies today is the lack of funds to upgrade and modernise infrastructure, he said.
“The actual plans of many urban development projects deviated from the detailed project report and hence failed to achieve the desired impact. The plans had not studied the land or garnered people’s support,” Ali said. According to the Minister, for the past three months, city corporations have been working to develop project proposals for presentation at the meet.
“The DUA has published a list of experts to assist corporations in the exercise. City governing bodies will be responsible for ensuring that the projects they implement have public acceptability,” he said.
The Minister said the city corporations are forced to rely on financial support from the government for day-to-day operations.
Nearly half of these corporations depend on state funding to pay salaries and pensions to employees, which means they struggle to invest in infrastructure and other development activities. Investors can log on to www.partnerkerala.com for free online registration for the meet and road shows in cities like Chennai and Mumbai.
Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, Deputy Mayor B Bhadra, Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) Chairman N Venugopal, Director of Urban Affairs E Devadasan and co-ordinator of ‘Partner Kerala’ Kabeer C Haroon were present at the press conference