In what appears to be a major setback for Kottayam, the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), one of the mega projects proposed at the Emerging Kerala investors’ meet, has hit a roadblock with lukewarm responses from investors.
The IIIT, an ambitious project announced by the Central Government, failed to allure venture capitalists as its ‘not-for-profit’ public private partnership (N-PPP) clause gave cold feet to investors.
The project was proposed by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), which aims to address the challenges being faced by the Indian IT industry and the growth of the domestic IT market on an N-PPP basis at a total cost of `128 crore.
The Union ministry intends to start a total of 20 IIITs in various parts of the country along with the respective state government and the industry.
According to its norms, 50 per cent of the total cost will be borne by the MHRD, 35 percent by the state government and the rest by investors. As reported, a private investor will have to bear `19.2 crore as a non-profit investment, which did not evoke interest from them.
Though, it is a non-profit venture, the investors have to submit the bank guarantee for investment and the terms and conditions will not spare them from leaving the project midway.
“A major hurdle to the project is its ‘not-for-profit’ clause set by the MHRD. We held discussions with some companies and have been trying hard to find reputed investors,” said Jose K Mani MP, who played a significant role in getting the Central Government nod for the IIIT.
Meanwhile, Kerala has mooted an idea of involving some state-owned profit-making public sector units, like Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in the place of private investors to overcome the hurdle. However, MHRD will have to wait for the clearance of the Union Cabinet.
In the meantime, the authorities have started the hunt for finding a suitable land for the project. Pala and Kaduthuruthy Legislative constituencies are being preferred for the project.
Around 25-acres of land that lies adjacent to the district Agricultural Farm and Regional Agricultural Training Centre at Kozha bears the maximum possibility. However, Karur of Pala Constituency and the land near Kaduthuruthi town also have the potential to house the project.