KANNUR: IT dreams of northern Malabar have suffered a body blow as the state government has decided to drop the Cyberpark projects of Kannur and Kasargod, floated 16 years ago, with the tag line “It is sunshine time in Malabar”. The funds earmarked under this head will be routed to a multi-purpose park on the Technopark campus in Thiruvananthapuram.
This decision was taken after considerable investment in building a compound wall for the park at Kasargod and installing pre-fabricated construction materials at Kannur. The two projects were conceived for IT parks with 1.5 lakh sq ft each at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
It was only a month ago that a communique came to the Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM) that is overseeing the projects to stop all construction activities at the site. It was communicated that the projects have been shifted to Technopark. However, the website of both the parks give a different picture altogether. It says100 acres, plots 16, companies at park- 60, new companies - seven, number of employees- 2500.
The state government conceived to set up IT parks in Kannur and Kasargod in 2001. The two IT parks were conceived as a hub-and-spoke model - with the Kozhikode cyberpark acting as the hub to the spokes in Kannur and Kasargod. The Kerala State IT Mission for which 100 acres were acquired in Kasargod and 25 acres in Kannur. Secretary to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology M Sivasankar told Express the decision has been taken with the best interests of the state. “Both Kannur and Kasargod lack the requisite infrastructure for attracting IT companies. So we decided to shift the projects. The government has decided to hand over the project to KINFRA which is planning to set up a multipurpose park,” he said.
Reiterating this view, Technopark CEO, Hrishikesh Nair, said, “Both Kannur and Kasargod are found wanting in terms of the required connectivity. And hence they are unlikely to attract IT companies.”However, both the officers are silent on why this basic lacuna did not occur to the powers that be for the past 16 years and why the projects were deemed viable till a month ago. On the contrary the twin projects were expected to change the face of the two districts, bringing in the required infrastructure and connectivity.