KOCHI: Lulu Group International’s International Convention Centre, which will be inaugurated on Saturday, had gone through several hiccups and controversies, forcing its founder Yussuf Ali at one point to even announce that he was withdrawing from the showcase project.
Interacting with journalists here on Wednesday, Yussuf Ali said several people called him personally and urged him not to pull out the investment, which will provide jobs to several hundreds of people both directly and indirectly, from the state. “If I had pulled out at that time, it would have sent a wrong message to the entire world that Kerala is not a good place to invest in. If I cannot invest in my home state, then how can we convince others to invest here,” Yussuf Ali said.
He, however, added: “I still don’t agree that Kerala is an investor-unfriendly state.” To drive home the point, he explained that his company was making a slew of investments across the state at the moment. The Cyber Tower at Infopark, Kakkanad, which will house 10,000 software engineers, will be opened in a couple of months time. The establishment of a shopping mall at Thiruvananthapuram and the expansion of the existing convention centre at Thrissur are the group’s other two projects.
Yussuf Ali said he first made the announcement to invest in Bolgatty centre in 2011, but some adverse reports disheartened him. “When I announced that I was withdrawing from the project, several people called me, and convinced me to stay put. The three people helped me to stay invested. I will reveal their names on Saturday during the inaugural event,” he said.
He said the Lulu group employs 28,000 Malayalis across the world. “ We need to provide a climate of pro-investment in Kerala to ensure that the our youngsters get jobs,” Yussuf Ali said.