The Kerala government has proposed to set up an industrial corridor between Kochi and Coimbatore, along the lines of a similar project being implemented between Mumbai and Delhi. The government has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Infrastructure Kerala Limited (INKEL), a private-public enterprise set up to promote infrastructure facilities in the state, to undertake a feasibility study and submit a report on the project before March 31 next.
The project will come up on either side of a dedicated freight line to be set up parallel to the gas pipeline linking Coimbatore and the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal expected to be commissioned in Kochi in 2013. “We will have to identify the locations where different types of industrial clusters can be set up. Availability of land as well as uninterrupted power and water supply will be the criteria for identifying potential locations,” Dr G C Gopala Pillai, head of INKEL said.
“Tamil Nadu government has shown keen interest in the project during talks held so far between officials of the two states. A ministerial level discussion on the project is likely to take place in December,” M R Karmachandran, executive director of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), said. “The project is expected to cost millions of rupees and we are looking for significant central funding,” he added.
Asked whether land will be a constraint for the project, an INKEL official said, “You will be surprised to know that there are vast reserves of land available in Kerala. Much of it is lying unutilised with public or private sector. Some individuals and consortium of individuals also hold huge areas of land. We have to put such land to optimal use for industrial development without affecting the environment.”
“Industries which can draw on the huge trained manpower pool available in the state could be set up in the proposed clusters. Since LNG is going to be easily available through the pipeline which is being set up by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), power units or power intensive industries would also be ideal,” said the KSIDC official. The freight line will have both road and rail lines, M P Ranji, additional secretary, state industries department, said.