An hour after he announced that the Emerging Kerala summit could generate project proposals worth Rs.40,000 crore, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy chewed his words, gingerly maintaining at his media briefing that the volume of investment could only be quantified after a proper scrutiny.
A note comprising the break-up of investment proposals in the manufacturing sector and other projects circulated to the media had earlier put the quantum of investment at Rs.27,282 crore.
The list also featured several projects that predated the summit. When this was brought to the notice of Mr. Chandy, he said the figure he quoted also included Rs.14,000 crore already pledged by BPCL for the expansion of its Kochi refinery. (In an agreement signed with the State on Friday, BPCL agreed to shell out a total of Rs.20,000 crore — over and above the Rs.14,000 crore earmarked earlier— for the refinery expansion).
While the Chief Minister stayed shy of quoting any figures, Minister of Industries P.K. Kunhalikutty added to the confusion as he went a step ahead and blamed the faux pas over the break-up on the exuberance of the agency that took care of the summit’s public relations.
As confusion prevailed, Mr. Kunhalikutty sought to bail Mr. Chandy out saying that several serious proposals were still to be looked into in detail. Mr. Kunhalikutty said a proposal for a PPPP model, with the fourth P standing for ‘public’ denoting a share for the common man in projects was also mooted during the summit’s deliberations. For instance, the public could have a share in Inkel, a public private initiative.