The decision by the Union Railway Ministry, as announced by Minister for Railways Dinesh Trivedi in Thiruvananthapuram on September 19, to lay the foundation stone for the Kanjikode railway coach factory on October 22, and the sanction for an Indian Institute of Technology here will boost the development prospects of Palakkad district.

Work on an integrated textile park, sanctioned by the Union Textile Ministry, on 160 acres of land at Kanjikode, is already nearing completion. These three projects hold the potential to make the Kanjikode-Pudussery-Walayar industrial belt the second biggest industrial area in the State, after Kochi.

An extent of 431 acres of land was handed over to the Railways by the State government last year to set up the coach factory. The unit is likely to bring in investment of over Rs.5,000 crore and provide direct employment to 4,000 people. Ancillary units will be set up to supply components to the coach factory. These projects will industrialise Palakkad and make it a new investment destination, said M. Paramasivam, president, Kanjikode Industries Forum.

The State government had earlier identified 140 hectares of land for the coach factory, behind Fluid Control Research Centre and Instrumentation Ltd, at Kanjikode. The then Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan (now Leader of the Opposition representing the constituency in the Assembly) had made an on-the-spot study of the site on December 5, 2006. Later, an official team, headed by the Land Revenue Commissioner, had also visited the spot.

The government had notified over 1,200 acres of land at Pudussery village at Kanjikode for industrial use. Revenue officials said the proposed IIT could be set up on this land.

The initial proposal for the Rail coach factory had an integrated township. However, in the present scheme, it seems unlikely as it would require additional investment and more 500 acres of land. Industrial experts, however, feel there is need for an integrated township near the Kanjikode-Walayar-Pudussery industrial belt to provide housing, education, medical, and other facilities to the employees of these new institutions.

The Union Defence Ministry's decision to set up a Defence park, in collaboration with Indian Telephone Industries on its 40-hectare land near Kanjikode, and the interest evinced by by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. to take over Instrumentation Ltd as its production unit have also raised the prospects of the development of Kanjikode industrial belt as a major investment destination, said K. Pankjakshan, former president of Kanjikode Industries Forum.

Proximity to educational institutions and the textile cities of Coimbatore and Tirupur and labour conditions in the district have made it attractive to private industries.

Proximity to airports

Palakkad also has favoured access to three airports — Coimbatore, 45 km; Nedumbassery, 120 km; and Kozhikode, 120 km.

Palakkad and Shoranur are major railway junctions.

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