Citing the controversy over the proposed airport at Aranmula, Mr. Babu said that he could not sign a single document related to the project

Minister for Excise and Ports K. Babu on Monday said that a conspiracy to obstruct the development of the State could be suspected behind the campaign against the Emerging Kerala meet, despite clarifications that the State’s resources will not be surrendered.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a panel discussion on Emerging Kerala organised by the Kerala Management Association (KMA) under the aegis of its management students’ forum.

Mr. Babu said that environment protection is not the monopoly of a few. Everyone is concerned about environment. But as much as environment conservation is needed there need not be environmental fundamentalism.

Long-term growth

"The State government is not prepared to drop the Emerging Kerala meet as it is concerned about the State’s future. The government is not driven by a short-term development outlook lasting its tenure but is determined to work towards the progress of the State for the next 20 years," he said.

Stating that no agreements will be inked at the investors’ meet, Mr. Babu said that it is an event to showcase before prospective investors the possibilities and resources that the State has to offer.

The projects will be taken forward if the investors are satisfied. “Who will invest in our State if we don’t showcase and use our resources?” the Minister said.

Mr. Babu said that the misinformation campaign that the State’s resources including land, forest, and rivers will be sold off in three days was unfortunate.

Any project will take at least a year to take off, during the course of which environment impact assessment studies will be carried out. Projects can be implemented only after getting the environmental clearance.

Mr. Babu said that the State government had made it clear that land will not be leased out for more than 30 years. However, any project needs land, he reminded.

Citing the controversy over the proposed airport at Aranmula, Mr. Babu said that he could not sign a single document related to the project as the minister in charge of airports as the previous government had signed off all relevant documents.

In the era of Right to Information Act and an alert media, clandestine deals are not possible.

While criticism is welcome in a democracy, it should be creative.

KMA president S.R. Nair presided over the meeting. Shaffi Mather, economic advisor to the Chief Minister, was the guest of honour. Vivek K. Govind, chairman of KMA management students’ forum, welcomed the gathering and KMA secretary K. Rajan George proposed a vote of thanks.

T.R. Raghulal, chairman, Elite Group; Vinu Verghese, Kerala Head, Idea Cellular; Najeeb Zachariah, managing director, Abad Builders; and A. Balakrishnan, managing director, Geojit Technologies; participated in the panel discussion.

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