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September 12, 2012

Kerala has carved out a niche for itself in tourism: PM

     Kochi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said Kerala has carved a niche for itself in the world of tourism because of its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture heritage, magnificent cuisine and warm and friendly people. Dr. Singh, who inaugurated the event 'Emerging Kerala-2012-Global Connect' here today in his address said: "Its social and human development indicators are at par with many developed countries. It has abundant natural resources. Its human resources are of a very high quality." "Because of its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture heritage, magnificent cuisine and warm and friendly people, Kerala has carved a niche for itself in the world of tourism, attracting lakhs of domestic and international tourists every year," he added. Dr. Singh said Chief Minister Oomen Chandy's commitment to give a clean, transparent and effective administration to the people, should be leveraged and leveraged optimally to attract investment into the state. "I am sure that initiatives like the present one would help in building a climate favourable to entrepreneurship in this process," he added. Dr. Singh emphasized that the people of Kerala are adventurous, known to go where opportunity lies to find employment, set up new enterprises and discover new frontiers. "Long before globalization became a buzz-word, Kerala was connected to the rest of the world. A rich history of spice trade gave this beautiful State a global orientation many centuries back, even before Vasco-da-Gama landed off the coast of Kozhikode in 1498," he said.Stating that more than two million Keralites work outside India , in the Gulf countries and elsewhere, Dr. Singh said the remittances from non-resident Keralites contribute significantly to the state's economy. "This constitutes more than 22 percent of the GDP of the state. The contribution of the Non Resident Keralites can perhaps be said to be the backbone of the economy of Kerala and has been so for the last four decades," said Dr. Singh. "It is therefore heartening to know that the non-resident Keralites are now making investments in the State in projects like hotels, hospitals and shopping complexes thereby helping to create physical and social infrastructure and new employment opportunities for the people living in the state," he added. Dr. Singh further said there is a need to build an enabling environment to facilitate such investment in every possible way. "And, I am very pleased to hear the Honourable Chief Minister promise that that is precisely what he is determined to do. And I hope that this conference would find new pathways of doing so," he said. The Prime Minister also pointed out that the UPA Government is committed to helping and adding to the initiatives of the Kerala Government for building an improved industrial infrastructure in the State. "Tomorrow, I will be laying the foundation stone for the Kochi Metro Rail Project for linking Aluva to Petta. Our Government has approved the project at a cost of over Rs. 5100 crore. When this project is completed, it would transform the face of the commercial capital of the state by easing the burden of traffic congestion," he added. Dr. Singh said that he had during his visit to Kerala in February 2011 inaugurated the country's first International Container Trans-shipment Terminal at Vallarpadam; and the International Terminal Building at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport . "The terminal at Vallarpadam has been planned to make Kochi one of the major trans-shipment points of the world, transforming it into an economic and logistical hub. There were some issues relating to the operationalization of this terminal on account of cabotage and customs operations. These issues have now been resolved," he added. Dr. Singh said the Union Cabinet has recently decided to relax the cabotage restrictions particularly for Vallarpadam. "I am now confident that our vision for this historic port will materialize soon and a major portion of India 's container traffic would flow through this port," he added. Underscoring that there are several other projects that the UPA Government has approved for Kerala in the last few years, Dr. Singh said : " I inaugurated the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala in 2009. The Brahmos Aerospace, Thiruvananthapuram was commissioned in 2007. A Rail Coach Factory has been announced for Palakkad." "A mega central sector project for setting up of Liquid Natural Gas Regasification Terminal at Puthuvypeen in Cochin Post Trust is under implementation. When commissioned, it will improve the availability of natural gas for power, fisheries, and food processing industries in the State," he added. The Prime Minister further said the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the Indian Institute of Space Technology, which the UPA government has set up, are shaping into institutions of excellence. "We have also set up the Central University in Kasargod. The demand for establishing an IIT in this state is under serious consideration of our government," he added.
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