Move to seek private investment for developing land draws flak

Opposition councillors want corporation to invest in Palayam project

The Kozhikode Corporation’s plan to involve private parties in the development of land that houses the vegetable market at Palayam, which is to be shifted to Kalluthankadavu, was met with stiff opposition from opposition party councillors in the Corporation council meeting on Friday.

The agenda seeking the council’s approval to appoint a project advisor for the development of the land was questioned by Palayam councillor P. Usha Devi. “The market is a prime location in the heart of the city. Handing it over to a private party is not going to be beneficial to the Corporation,” she said at the meeting.

It was the proposal for a private investor for the project that irked some of the councillors who asked why the Corporation could not invest directly in the project, so that it would earn revenue in future.

“We need profit-making ventures at this stage considering the depletion of revenue in recent years,” Ms. Usha Devi said, seeking the possibility of taking loans to carry out the project.

“If private parties take up the project, they will expect returns which is probably 25 to 30 years of permission to operate the project. What they would hand over back to the Corporation will be a good for nothing skeleton,” said IUML councillor C. Abdurahman.

However, Corporation Secretary Binu Francis pointed out that the project could cost ₹200 crore to ₹300 crore, which the Corporation might not be able to afford. Loans would take around 30 years to pay back, he added.

The Corporation wants the project advisor to measure the land, which is in its possession, work out possibilities of projects that could be executed there, calculate maximum viable investment, prepare a detailed project report and help the Corporation find a party suitable for investing and implementing the project.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:53:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/move-to-seek-private-investment-for-developing-land-draws-flak/article30883516.ece

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