Economic advisor to the Chief Minister Shaffi Mather said that those who oppose the Emerging Kerala meet on the perceived threat of exploitation of the State should wake up to the reality that no one was queuing up to invest in the State.

Mr. Mather was speaking at the inaugural function of a panel discussion on Emerging Kerala organised by the Kerala Management Association (KMA) under the aegis of its management students’ forum here on Monday.

He noted that the State government was struggling to find investors for the Vizhinjam Port despite floating multiple tenders.

Emerging Kerala is all about attracting prospective investors to the State. There is no proposal to sell off the State’s land or wipe out its forest cover in the pretext of Emerging Kerala.

“But if as a society we decide that we can’t even have an idea discussed, then which world are we living in? This is supposed to be a free democracy,” Mr. Mather said.

The issue is, he said, the Opposition made a mistake by boycotting the Chief Minister’s invitation for a meeting about Emerging Kerala. The State government has now decided to go ahead with Emerging Kerala in a very transparent manner.

Mr. Mather said that one had to understand the concept of Emerging Kerala in the background of the United Democratic Front’s slogan of Development and Care, on the strength of which it had come into power.

The Kerala society is extremely firm when it comes to ensuring accountability and no political party or leader can get away with their whims and fancies. “If people here do not like a project then it is impossible to get it through. Similarly, the labour community here are an enlightened lot and no industry or business can come here with the intention of exploiting them,” Mr. Mather said.

He said that any government that comes to power in the State faces multiple challenges. He listed cynicism of the society, budgetary constraints faced by the government, both outbound and inbound migration, availability of land as some of the challenges.

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