Kerala to attract Rs 25,000 crore investment in 3 years

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New Delhi, Aug 28 (UNI) Projecting a new industrial face and congenial investment climate, the Left-ruled Kerala today announced its plans to attract a Rs 25,000 crore capital investment in the basic infrastructure sector in the next three years.

At a day-long interactive session with the entrepreneurs, diplomats, politicians, trade unions and media, Kerala Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac sought to allay the apprehensions of the prospective investors, who raised many issues, including the perceived trade union militancy.

Mr Kareem listed out the investment opportunities in the state where 'the investment climate has expanded in the past two years." "This is not an investment meet. This is only a meeting to project Kerala's changed atmosphere for investment," Mr Kareem told mediapersons after the meeting that lasted four hours at the Hotel Ashok.

A major issue that dominated at the interactive session was the frequent hartals and bandhs in the state which is often projected as a state with high political consciousness and high awareness among the people about their rights.

"Kerala's image has changed into a good investment destination.

Strikes are not to the extent of discouraging investment. The mandays lost due to strike was the lowest in the state. But what was doing the damage was the negative propaganda in a section of the media." There were demands from the entrepreneurs to make flawless the existing single window system for project clearances.

Asked how the recent restrictions in the transfer of land would affect industrialisation, Mr Kareem said the government was only against making land as an object of speculative trading.

On the government's approach towards the retail sector, Mr Isaac said multinational retail companies will not be allowed to set up their outlets in the state. There would be controls in the case of Indian companies in the retail sector.

In this context, he said the government will soon bring forward a legislation to control the retail sector.

UNI SH AK VC1840

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