Malabar, steeped in cultural variety, is no stranger to changing development paradigms. The six districts in the region have set an enviable development pace.

It is a fabled land, finding mention in the scrolls of history with its spice trade, cultural variety and colonial footprints. In the contemporary world, it is the land of six sisters. Six districts from Palakkad to Kasaragod span the length of Malabar, making common cause with one another and nursing aspirations of fast-paced development.

The goals set for the region signal a sweeping change. Sunny days are ahead as the people have been constantly campaigning for their deserving share from the rulers. Call it a new dawn or reawakening, Malabar is now ready with a fresh development chart, and the governments are taking note of it.

Not just granary

Palakkad, at the southern end of the region, known as the granary of Kerala, will not confine its development dreams to agriculture. The district is making a mark in the industrial sector with several new projects.

“On top, we place hope on the upcoming rail coach factory at Kanjikode,” Palakkad district panchayat president T.N. Khandamuthan says. “As per a recent assurance given by the Chief Minister, the work on the coach factory will begin this year as all ambiguities surrounding the venture have been cleared by the authorities.”

The coach factory is likely to set in motion an industrial boom with the setting up of over 100 ancillary units to supply equipment. The 50 steel-manufacturing units in and around Kanjikode will get a fresh lease of life.

Palakkad has a Mini Ratna company, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd., fuelling its industrialisation. Two manufacturing units, started with an initial investment of Rs. 300 crore, predict a leap in growth of the industrial sector.

Light of knowledge

Though industries enjoy a fertile ground in Malappuram, the land often described as a cultural crucible, new educational projects are charting a knowledge-based development path for the district. “Our list of dream projects include the off-campus centre of Aligarh Muslim University in Perinthalmanna, Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University in Tirur and an English and foreign languages university in Panakkad,” Malappuram district panchayat president Suhara Mambad says. These ambitious projects will change the current face of Malappuram in the educational sector, she says.

The Edu-City planned in Panakkad is a dream of the district, which will house a number of training institutes of international standards. Already, 243 acres of land has been found for the project.

In cyber space

Kozhikode, the de facto capital of Malabar, is keeping pace with technological advancements. The city is going to have two cyber parks — one in the government sector and the other private — within a few years, predicting bright job prospects for the educated youth in Malabar. The city sets great store by the prestigious National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding at Chaliyam. A dream initiative is the monorail project.

Awaiting take-off

For Kannur, Wayanad and Kasaragod districts, a milestone will be the upcoming Kannur airport. An international gateway is opening before the people here, who have been largely depending on the Mangalore and the Karipur airports. For Wayanad district, the airport will be a blessing as international tourists can easily reach this paradise. “We are definitely thrilled of the huge developments coming to the land of looms and lore. It will greatly help this agrarian belt to have an international gateway to new development,” Kannur district panchayat president K.A. Sarala says.

The dream for a medical college drives the spirit of most people’s representatives in Kasaragod. “We hope that it can be achieved within a stipulated time as the Union government has already given an assurance on it,” Kasaragod district panchayat president P.P. Shyamala Devi says.

MITHOSH JOSEPH