Launches multi-storied ‘Kerala House'
Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan on Sunday stressed the need for sustaining the strong fraternal bonds between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while launching a multi-storied ‘Kerala House' in Chennai.
Describing Chennai as a home away from home for Malayalis settled here, Mr. Achuthanandan said the two States and its peoples were like brethren and shared many likenesses of language and culture.
The Kerala House — the third such complex after the ones in Delhi (1980) and Mumbai (2006) — is a bigger and better version with 95 rooms, an auditorium, conference hall and health spa and will be managed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).
Referring to the hitches that delayed the Kerala House project, Mr. Achuthanandan thanked Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the Chennai Corporation for removing the hurdles.
The Chennai Kerala House will not only serve as a hub for Kerala's tourism promotion campaigns in Tamil Nadu, but will also boost arrivals of Malayalis to this State, Mr. Achuthanandan said.
The complex will house the offices of the Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs Department and the Kerala State Malayalam Mission. The auditorium along with five rooms will be made available at concessional rates to Malayali cultural associations, the Chief Minister said. Kerala Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan called for more private investments into Kerala where Public Sector Undertakings had started to notch up profits during the last four years of LDF rule.
At present, all but four PSUs are running profitably with the gross profit over the last five years aggregating Rs.920 crore, and by the end of this fiscal, these four too would see profits, he said.
“If the public sector can do this, the private sector can achieve much more in an investment-friendly climate,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.
As part of strengthening Kerala Tourism, the Government was opening information centres in other States depending on the availability of land. While an information centre is now functioning in Kolkata, another is expected to be opened in Mysore, Mr. Balakrishnan said.
The Kerala House in Chennai would begin full-fledged operations in three months, he said. Cheriyan Philip, KTDC chairman, said unlike the complexes in Delhi and Mumbai, the Kerala House in Chennai would have a restaurant open to the public.
Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian stressed the fraternal ties that existed between the people of the two States.
G. Ramakrishnan, CPI (M) State Secretary, M. Sivasankar, Kerala Tourism Director, K. G. Mohanlal, KTDC Managing Director and members of KTDC's board of directors were among those present.
Mr. Achuthanandan later launched a chapter of NORKA Roots, the study centre of the Malayalam Mission and enrolment drive for the Kerala Pravasi Keraleeya Kshema Nidhi Board.
The basic-level certificate course, diploma course and higher diploma course offered by the study centre would help Malayali children of the modern generation learn their mother tongue as well as provide an opportunity to anyone interested in learning Malayalam, he said.
B. R. Ajith Kumar, Malayalam Mission Registrar, Radhakrishnan, NORKA Roots special officer, Kumbalangad Unnikrishnan, Kerala Samajam general secretary, C. G. Rajendra Babu, Head of Malayalam Department, University of Madras, M. Nanda Govind, president, Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayali Associations, K. P. Sankaran Nambiar, office-bearer were among those present.