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Kerala CM firm on Smart City project

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , May 17

THE United Democratic Front (UDF) Government in Kerala, which has completed four years in office, is expecting total investment of Rs 30,000 crore in the State during its tenure that ends next year.

The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, told newspersons here on Tuesday that the Government had initiated many projects and some more are in the pipeline, all worth around Rs 40,000 crore. Of this, investments to the tune of Rs. 30,000 crore would materialise by the end of the Government's term.

He said the Government is determined to go ahead with the Smart City project in Kochi despite the allegations of corruption levelled by the Opposition. Asserting that the priority of the Government is to attract investments and create employment opportunities for the youth, he said he is prepared to discuss the project with all political parties.

The Chief Minister noted that the State had lost many a project due to corruption controversies. However, the UDF Government has been able to create an investment-friendly climate here. The Smart City project would provide more than 33,000 jobs over a 10-year period, he said.

Explaining the achievements of the Government during the last four years, Mr Chandy said the State's fiscal management has improved considerably and there were no overdraft problems last year. Also, there would not be any restrictions on treasury transactions till June.

The Prime Minister had recently laid the foundation stone for an international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam in Kochi and also announced projects worth Rs 20,000 crore, which include an LNG terminal, petrochemical plant and a port-based special economic zone. The State is getting such huge capital investments after many years, the Chief Minister said.

Besides, The Government has initiated steps for establishing a major port at Vizhnijam near here for which a company, namely, Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, has been formed. The project, costing Rs 4,200 crore, is proposed to be implemented in three phases and global tenders have been floated to rope in a partner to take up the first phase.

During the last four years, as many as 11,716 small-scale industrial units were set up in the State, of which 2,580 units, with a total capital outlay of Rs 105 crore, have permanent registration. Besides, Rs 18.41 crore has been spent for the development of the handloom sector.

In the power sector, the Government was able to provide 16 lakh new connections over the last four years. There has not been any increase in power tariff since 2002 and load-shedding has become a thing of the past

The electricity board could bring down the transmission losses from 32 per cent to 26 per cent, which resulted in additional income of Rs 300 crore for the board. Also, it could generate an additional 674.24 million units during the period.

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