Staff Reporter

Active tourism, smart waterways, economic zone for NRI investments mooted

‘Energy independence vital for development’

Stress on equitable distribution of energy, water

KOCHI: Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has presented a blueprint for making Kerala economically independent by 2015.

Active tourism, development of smart waterways, making of knowledge products, an economic zone for NRI investments, modern technology-driven deep sea fishing, and value-addition of farm products are the essential components of the action plan.

He was addressing a meeting organised by the Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry here on Monday on the occasion of its 150 years of its service.

A project to convert waste to energy, in collaboration with a U.S.-based company, was unveiled on the occasion.

Mr. Kalam released a book, ‘A journey through time 1857-2007,’ detailing the progress of the chamber and Kochi’s development, on the occasion.

Venugopal N. Dhoot, president, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham); T.M. Thomas Isaac, Minister for Finance; Jose Dominic, president, Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry; were among those present at the function.

Solar energy projects

Mr. Kalam said energy independence was important for economic development. Solar energy projects making use of nanotechnology could be one of the options for producing affordable green energy.

Thorium-based nuclear plants could be another option.

Biodiesel projects would also be a good proposition. In this connection, he asked the Cochin chamber to focus on clean energy projects.

Pointing out that about Rs.60,000 crore was being received from Non-Resident Indians, the former President said an investment-friendly climate was important for attracting Non-Resident Indians’ investments.

Mr. Kalam also stressed the need for creative leadership and equitable distribution of energy and water.

Dr. Isaac said the government was receptive to the ideas expounded by Mr. Kalam.

A new phase of development was to be ushered in and bodies such as the Cochin chamber would have to play a key role in this, he said.

Mr. Dhoot said there was scope for India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow faster than the present. Development was taking place in two-tier and three-tier cities and towns.

Mr. Dhoot called for more focus on research and development.

Venugopal C. Govind, former president, Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Renee L. Comly, president, W2E USA Inc.; Satish Murthi, vice-president, Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry; spoke.