Fernandes warns against mushrooming of mega industries

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Mangalore, Jan 27 (UNI) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Convener and former Defence Minister George Fernandes today said setting up of mega industry should be allowed in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district only after conducting a detailed environmental study.

Accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred on him at the 'Mangalore Conclave 2008', organised by Mangalore Today magazine here, Mr Fernandes, speaking on the 'Past and Future of Mangalore', said instead of aiming at setting up mega industries, which were likely to disturb the centuries-old socio-economic equation of the area, the planners should encourage agricultural processing and port-related industries. It was necessary to revive the district industrial centres started in 1977, he added.

He stressed that eco-tourism should be encouraged to exploit the natural beauty of Western Ghats and surrounding regions. Care should be taken not to allow polluting mega industries.

Mr Fernandes urged that whenever land was acquired for setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in and around Mangalore, land owners should be included as stakeholders in the project.

He said with the Konkan Railway connectivity between Mangalore and Mumbai, commissioning of international airport and port, Mangalore had great opportunities for development. However, development had to be a balanced one, with a blend of old and new.

Due to the high literacy rate, establishment of IT related industries had great potential with huge employment opportunities, he added.

Prasar Bharati Chairman M V Kamat, who inaugurated the conclave and felicitated Mr Fernandes, hailed him as a great labour leader, patriot, true socialist, courageous person and a visionary who rose from the position of sleeping on the footpath to becoming the Defence Minister.

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