The State Budget for 2012-13 has taken due note of the prospects for employment generation raised by the establishment of a petrochemical complex here in rhythm with the expansion of the capacity of Bharat Petroleum Corporation's Kochi Refinery from the current 9.5 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes a year.

The budget has set aside Rs. 50 crore towards preliminary works for the petro-chemical industrial zone, the project now being coordinated by Kerala Industrial Development Corporation. The budget provision recognises the fact that Kerala is eager to shed its image as a home to industries in the traditional mould as it reaches out to the new industries, said an office-bearer of the Small Industries Association here.

According to industry sources, nearly 20 downstream units, involving an approximate investment of Rs. 6,000 crore, can be set up with the petrochemical complex going on stream. These projects require around 100 acres of land.

The process of identification of the land is progressing in right earnest. The land is already available with the government and it would be possible to allocate the area for the downstream units. It is estimated that about 10,000 new jobs can be created through these units that will make products as varied as ink and paints; adhesives, agrochemicals, textiles and diapers.

The petrochemical complex will also offer new business avenues for public sector undertakings like Fertilizers and Chemicals and Cochin Port Trust; and the Kerala State owned Travancore Cochin Chemicals.

Industry sources said that the increased capacity of the BPCL refinery would result in the production of around five lakh tonnes of propylene, which will result in the production of nine lakh tonnes of petrochemical derivatives.

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