Emerging Kerala’, currently under a cloud of controversies, has projected various mega projects, including the Kochi Metro Rail and the once nearly-abandoned High Speed Rail Corridor (HSRC).
It has been pointed out that most of the major projects, proposed to be presented at the investors’ meet, have already been finalised by the union and state governments.
Though there are proposals for major land acquisition, there is hardly any mention of rehabilitation and compensation. An area of 10,000 acres of land has been proposed to set up integrated Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs). Furthermore, the KSIDC has identified an area of 334 acres for an Electronics Park.
One of the most expensive projects could be the `53,825 crore Kochi-Palakkad NIMZ (National Investment and Manufacturing Zone).
Spanning over a vast area over Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad districts, it proposes to establish industrial and commercial establishments across 20 identified nods.
While the Chief Minister said that the government is yet to finalise the projects in Emerging Kerala, the notification stated that the state government and its agencies have already initiated steps for land acquisition.
Detailed reports have been submitted to the state and central governments for notification of Kochi-Palakkad NIMZ.
KSIDC has identified 334 acres of land at Amballur village in Kochi for a `750-crore Electronic Park with infrastructure development cost of `336 crore.
It is nothing but old wine in a new bottle. Interestingly, such a major initiative has been proposed at a time when two other projects proposed earlier - the Electronics City and the Hi Tech City at Kalamassery - have gone in vain. According to the proposal, the government has already approved the acquisition of 334 acres of land.
The `2,000 crore Supplementary Gas Infrastructure Project by Kerala Gail Gas Limited (KGGL) is a joint venture company formed between KSIDC and Gail Gas Limited. KGGL will take up initiatives including city gas distribution, CNG stations for KSRTC buses, establishment of a gas training institute, laying of spur lines from GAIL’s main pipeline and setting up of gas-based small power generating plants.
Another mega project proposed to be presented at the investor meet is the Kochi Metro Rail.
The project has already been widely discussed across various forums, and the Union Government has issued sanction for the same. The funding methodology has also been fixed for this initiative.
A `320 crore Oceanarium project through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) has been proposed in Kochi. The project, for which 36.5 acres of land has been earmarked, has been in the air for the past couple of years.
The High Speed Rail Corridor in the state could be another project poised to become controversial.
Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport, the Monorail Project in Thiruvananthapuram, the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kottayam, Sea Plane Services in Kerala and Gas Based Power Project at Cheemeni are some of the other projects which found a place in the list.