KOCHI: In a move to provide a fillip to the industrial sector in the state, the Industries Department has urged the local bodies to provide information on unutilised land available in the districts. The decision to pool land came after various Micro Small or Medium Enterprise industries (MSMEs) complained about the difficulties in procuring land for developing independent industrial units. According to the government, Panchayats, municipalities and corporations have large tracts of unutilised land across the state.
“Independent units face a lot of regulatory issues. If we can identify unutilised land in the custody of local bodies, it can be used to set up new industrial units or for expansion of the existing ones.” said P M Francis, director of Industries and Commerce.
Kerala Panchayat Raj rules have set various restrictions on operating industries in the limits of local bodies. Stringent norms to control pollution including noise, dust and mandatory buffer zone for those operating electric motor of over 5 hp capacity etc are some of them.
The Industries Department has identified 70 panchayats which have large tracts of lands measuring 1 to 5 acres. Around 60 panchayats have less than 1 acre of land. “It would be difficult to operate an industry with all these restriction in a densely populated state like Kerala. If we can develop an industrial park in every panchayat it will be helpful for the units and the state.” said an entrepreneur. Though the industries welcome the move, a lot need to be done ensure ease of doing business in the state.
“Local bodies have been arbitrarily using their powers to slap stop memos on industrial units operating in their limits. There is a need to streamline things” said former Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Harikrishnan R Nair. The Industries Department has undertaken a survey to understand the issues faced by industrial units.
The LDF government is in the process of preparing its industrial policy. According to Industries Minister A C Moideen, there is a need to promote MSMEs and to address their problems. He has issued instructions to expedite development of industrial projects in the state. Puzhakalpadam in Thrissur, Industrial Estate in Manjeri, Industrial Development Area in Puthusseri and `10 crore project at Kochuveli will be completed on priority. Besides this, development of projects such as Punnapra Industrial Area, Shornur Development Area and Varavur project will be expedited. The department has 32 industrial parks in the state, developed on 2,500 acres of land.