V. Sajeev Kumar

Kochi, Oct. 6

KERALA urgently needs a comprehensive policy environment and an institutional framework to boost public-private partnerships (PPP) in integrated infrastructure development, especially of roads and inland waterways, said the Confederation of Indian Industry - Southern Region.

CII, in a comprehensive study on PPPs in infrastructure development of Kerala, observed that the port policy recently announced by the State Government is a step in the right direction. The Government has to evolve a policy environment on PPPs addressing the specific needs of all infrastructure sectors.

Kerala, with three medium and 14 minor ports, besides the major port at Kochi, has potential to become one of the top three maritime States in the country by 2014 as envisaged by the port policy. However, the State has to design a fast track programme for the development of multi-purpose ports, transhipment terminals, coastal shipping facilities, advanced storage and infrastructure.

Analysing the various port projects in progress, the CII study pointed out that the private sector should be encouraged, especially in the operation and maintenance of seaport projects at Vizhinham , Azhikal, where a ship repairing yard is to set up, Beypore and Alappuzha.

The study also emphasised that Kerala Government should encourage PPPs in the road sector, starting with the introduction of improvement and maintenance concessions in highway projects.

Kerala is on the threshold of development and the existing urban infrastructure is inadequate to cope with it. The phased development of Thrissur, Kannur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Palakkad and Kottayam is essential to tap the potential of the State's vast hinterlands and the development of these towns would have positive multiplier effects for the industry.

The study pitched for an effective tracking mechanism for the timely completion of the proposed urban infrastructure projects such as the Capital city development project and the airport-seaport highway project at Kochi.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 7, 2005)
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