Kochi, Feb 25 IANS | 10 months ago

Kerala is the best state in India to start a business, considering the opportunities offered by its fast-growing cities and the support offered by the government, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Tuesday.

Chandy said this to investors at the two-day "Partner Kerala" urban development meet held here.

"Kerala should create opportunities from within the state to revamp its infrastructure. In the past, the government's ventures mainly focused on education, health and social development. Though this helped the state carve its own niche, Kerala lagged behind others in infrastructure development," Chandy said.

On the huge turnout of investors at the meet, he said his government was seeking solid financial resources to turn into reality the proposals presented at the meet.

"Most of our popular ventures have been put on hold due to lack of funds. It is in this context we decided to promote the public-private partnership model."

"The department of urban affairs (which organised the meet) would immediately make arrangements to strengthen the public-private partnership cell to expedite the launch of these projects," he said.

Projects for waste management, sewerage, flyovers, bridges, parking lots, bus terminals, comfort stations, markets, shopping complexes and multiplex cinema halls would be implemented in five corporations and 60 municipalities in the state.

On a query about legal obstacles to using agricultural land for infrastructure development, the chief minister said development can happen only in compliance with the paddy-wetlands protection law and should be in the interest of the public.

Public Works Department Minister P.K. Ibrahim Kunju said the PPP model envisaged in "Partner Kerala" was different from the traditional PPP model.

"The projects shortlisted in this meet will be implemented in close association with local bodies and will be in the best interest of both the parties," he said.

Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali said the event was a success with 100 expressions of interest signed for developing 64 projects at a total cost of Rs.4,291.89 crore.

"The meet was a big hit among investors. The government managed to attract investors for two-thirds of the projects showcased at the meet aimed at helping the cash-strapped local bodies," Ali told reporters at the end of two-day event.

(Posted on 25-02-2014)

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