Kerala is set to be exempted from the provisions related to geographical continuity in the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) in the Kochi-Palakkad sector.

The State government has already approached the Union government and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to give sanction soon.

NIMZ, as conceived by the Union government, envisages special provisions for manufacturing units enclosed in a specified area. The State had approached the Centre for exemption on the ground that it would be difficult to get the required land as a single mass since Kerala has thickly populated areas along the national highway, a top official of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) said. The KSIDC has been entrusted with the task of implementing the project.

The Kochi-Palakkad NIMZ was conceived in tandem with the manufacturing policy adopted by the Union government, with a view to developing the region as a manufacturing and trading hub. With the manufacturing sector contributing only 15 per cent to the country’s GDP at present, the new policy was framed to make the sector an engine of growth of the Indian economy.

The NIMZ project is to be established in an area of 6,000 acres across 20 ‘nodes’, spread across Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad districts. The Kochi-Palakkad National Highway will act as the spine of the zone with the project influence area of 8,000 sq. km. The cost of infrastructure development will exceed Rs.53,000 crore including the cost of land, according to a report prepared by KSIDC.

Procedures for land acquisition in the four districts have already begun. The exemption would make it easier for land acquisition and the entire process was expected to be completed within two years, the official said. Unutilised land in possession of FACT and other public sector companies would become part of the land pool for the NIMZ project.