Narendra Modi assures support to Kerala’s industrial projects

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan says Modi assured that Tamil Nadu’s Colachel port construction will not affect viability of Kerala’s Vizhinjam project

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are developing competing port projects 30km apart. Photo: PTI
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are developing competing port projects 30km apart. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday refused to intervene on the issue of Kerala and Tamil Nadu developing competing port projects 30km apart, but agreed to favourably consider many industrial projects proposed by the Kerala government, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters.

Vijayan, who separately met Modi, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, chemicals and fertilizers minister Ananth Kumar and women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi, said the central ministers have positively responded to his proposals.

Among the major ones are setting up a petrochemical complex in 450 acre held by Kerala state-owned sick fertilizer company—The Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd.—and reviving the company to a 12 million tonne unit using imported liquified natural gas (LNG) by a consortium of public sector firms and building air strips at five popular locations to facilitate tourism.

The state’s demand for fiscal incentives to expand Kannur airport has also been considered positively, the chief minister said.

The Adani Group is developing a Rs.7,500 crore port project at Vizhinjam in Kerala for which work had started last December. The state leadership believes that Tamil Nadu’s competing port project at Colachel at a cost of Rs.27,500 crore will affect the commercial viability and financial stability of the Vizhinjam project.

“The prime minister assured that Colachel port construction will not affect the viability of the Vizhinjam project and that the Union government was committed to its viability. But our concerns are genuine,” Vijayan told reporters.

The central government has already allowed a viability gap funding of Rs.800 crore for the Vizhinjam project.

On Wednesday, the Kerala government approved an ordinance to make changes in the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) to raise funds to the tune of Rs.50,000 crore outside the budget for taking up infrastructure projects.

In an interview with Mint in June, Vijayan had said the state had not exploited its full potential for developing industries and that he would encourage industries that suit the state and could create jobs.

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