V. Sajeev Kumar

Kochi, April 15

THE Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) is in the process of establishing a joint venture company with private agencies, who have expertise in setting up biotechnology parks considering its immense potential in revolutionising various sectors of industry such as healthcare, agriculture, environmental and process industry.

Kerala is uniquely positioned for harnessing the biotechnological applications to promote industry growth due to the rich biodiversity, conducive climate, network of established research institutes and universities, highly educated and skilled manpower and a government dedicated to growth of biotechnology in the State.

A number of entrepreneurs are interested in commercially exploiting these technologies. However, high cost of investment for optimisation and scale up of these technologies and the risk of failure are the major deterrents in promoting entrepreneurs to commercialise indigenous technologies, Dr G.C. Gopala Pillai, Managing Director, Kinfra said.

Several research institutions such as Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute , Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology , Regional Research Laboratory , University of Kerala and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences have developed a number of biotechnologies of immediate relevance to the State and country.

A number of technologies for micro propagation of commercially relevant plants such as medicinal and aromatic plants, spices and flowers have been developed enabling their propagation on a large scale for extraction of value-added products having immense domestic and export markets.

He said the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, will lay the foundation stone for the Kinfra biotechnology park at Kalamassery on April 21.

The total cost of setting up the biotech park is estimated at Rs 39.53 crore including cost of land, site development and buildings. The cost of the Biotechnology Incubation Centre (BTIC) is estimated at Rs 23.18 crore.

Of this, the contribution from Department of Biotechnology, Union Government is to the tune of Rs 11 crore. The sources of income would be rentals from hiring of the common facilities in the BTIC and the use of support services. The BTIC would operate as a self- sustained unit, he said.

The park would be a combination of a Technology Incubation Centre (TIC) providing modules for R&D in biotechnology, pilot plant and a business enterprise zone comprising of developed plots to be utilised for setting up of industrial units.

The development works would be taken up in two phases. In the initial phase, a building for incubation centre would be constructed followed by other wings of the park, Dr Pillai said.

The park, he said, would focus on the commercial applications of biotechnology. The thrust area of the project would be practical application and utility of the bio-resources of the State.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 16, 2005)
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