Doing business is no more an anathema to a government regime. There is no harm in transacting business if revenue accrues to the government kitty seems the economic mantra of the government agencies.

Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Limited (RBDCK), a corporation fully owned by the State government, too is entering such a revenue generating model, with its initiative in the mall business sector.

RBDCK will begin the construction of a mall at Kakkanad, opposite Civil Station, a few kilometres away from the city’s IT hub, Infopark, and the emerging Smart City, on Thursday. The government has given permission to RBDCK to construct a mall in an acre of leased land. Expected to come up in three years at a cost of Rs.45 crore, the six-floor mall will accommodate RBDCK offices in the top floor. National or international retail giants can vie for a role in the competitive bidding to maintain the mall and operate business there.

RBDCK intends to avail itself of loans from banks or financial institutions. It also hopes to attract investment from private players. The corporation plans to complete the construction work of the 1.65 lakh square feet mall by 2016.

Hard-pressed to bring down revenue deficit, the government has given permission to the RBDCK proposal, which was floated after a study by Kitco. The location of the proposed mall is the key advantage of the new venture, according to a senior official. It is close to the intersection of the Sea Port-Airport Road and the civil lines road leading to Infopark and Pallikkara. It is a busy junction and hundreds of people visiting the civil station could be potential customers.

But RBDCK will not go into the nitty gritty of business, says A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, Managing Director of RBDCK. “A self-sustaining model is the aim. It will be for the operating entity to execute a successful model. The operator would be chosen through an open bidding in which national and international mall operators can participate. It will be for the incoming operator to devise methods and evaluate strategies for a coveted business model in a city which is getting crowded with malls."

The LuLu mall, one of the biggest in the country, and Oberon mall, another well known shopping venue are a few kilometres away from each other at Edappally. Apart from the Abad group’s Nucleus mall at Maradu, Bay Pride mall at Marine Drive, Gold Souk Grande at Vyttila, new ones are getting ready on MG Road, Maradu and other locations.

The government had been encouraging its agencies to find revenue generating models. The KSRTC has already set up shopping complexes at some of its bus stations. The modern shopping complex set up at Angamaly and the Revenue Tower near Ernakulam boat jetty are among such initiatives. Whether these new revenue generating models would bring the desired results or not, it is time for happy shopping for the denizens.

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