Kerala plans special trade zones on the Chinese pattern

Wednesday, 18 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Kerala is planning new special trade zones on the Chinese pattern among a slew of investor-friendly policies in a bid to attract foreign and domestic investment to the southern state.

"In addition to a special export zone operational in Kochi, we are planning four other trade zones on the pattern of China," Kerala Industries minister P.K. Kunhalikutty told IANS at a pre-Global Investors Meet organised late Tuesday evening in the capital.

"We have been visiting and studying the special zones in China for replicating and would like to have private investment to get these operational. With the special export zones having been given utility status, these areas should attract considerable interest among investors as labour strikes would be prohibited," said Kunhalikutty.

Wrapping up the series of road shows in the capital in a run-up to the first Global Investors Meet to be held in the commercial hub Kochi on January 18-19, Kerala is looking forward to receiving delegations from the U.S, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

"We are expecting good response to our road shows with business and ministerial delegations from some of the countries indicating their participation in the event," the minister said.

Major IT, communications and infrastructure agreements are slated to be signed at the two-day event to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

To make sure the global event sees the start of new investment flow into the state, Kerala has already lined up several feasible projects ranging from infrastructure, tourism, biotechnology, education, health, housing, mining and IT that would be showcased to the potential investors.

Kerala is the only state in the country to have made single-window clearance operational in industrial parks with statutory backing to enable investors get clearance within 45 days of the project being approved, said C. G. Gopala Pillai, managing director of the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra).

Stating Kerala is now ready to do business, IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said all progressive measures and legislation have been put in place to ensure investors face no hassles in undertaking projects.

These include new IT and IT-enabled services policy, overhaul of labour policy and better infrastructure specially communications.

"Kochi has been identified as the second best destination for IT investment after Bangalore by software industry body Nasscom (National Association of Software and Service Companies). Kerala is one of the only two locations in India where both the optic fibre submarine cables SEA-ME-WE-3 and SAT-3/WASC/SAFE converge, giving superb global connectivity," said Sundarajan.

In addition, Kerala has the highest tele-density and penetration of optic fibre cable in the country, she added.

To facilitate availability of trained manpower, Kerala is planning to launch a major IT-enabled training programme very soon.
Source: IANS
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