Kerala is ranked 28th for the Ease of conducting Business, the state boast that it is making a dramatic change in itself into making the State as a emerging investment destination. However, contrary to all its claim and as a drawback to the state, one of the biggest private sector Entrepreneur and an Employer to many employees from Kerala and from other states, announced that it is withdrawing from a Rs 3,500 crore investment recently, claiming an interminable wild chase by various governmental departments such as,Pollution control, labour department,Health and Hygiene department. Mr.Sabu.M.Jacob, Chairman and Managing director of Kitex Group claims that 11 teams of officers from various departments have raided the company during the past one month. He mentioned that even a team led by the District Collector conducted a search on his premises for reasons only best known to them. Interestingly, none of department who raided so many times until now, have not given Kitex any notice for correction and rectifications of defects found at the time of inspection.
The recent inspection was of the pollution control board who raced into the office premises in 15 vehicles and stormed into the office building in teams 40 to 50 officers as if they have zeroed in on a terrorist or renowned culprit who have been on the run for some time. They search every nook and corner of the company, question employees for hours and ultimately reveal nothing on what violations and irregularities they have found. The Kitex factory has been functioning in Kizhakkambalam for the past 26 years and have 11,000 employees working with them on regular employment basis. They comes in large team violating all Covid protocols with online camera teams from reputed media reporters
Kitex Garments, the company that is ranked as the world’s second-largest manufacturer of New born children and kids apparels upto 24 months, announced the scrapping of the Rs 3,500 crore project for which it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kerala government at the ‘Ascend Global Investors Meet’ which was held at Hyatt hotel, Bolgaty,Cochin in January 2020. The plan was to open an apparel park in Cochin and establish Industrial parks at Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Palakkad, on plug and operate basis.
Kitex claims having acquired 30 acres of land for the apparel park at Kizhakkambalam in Cochin. The project report has also been completed and the project would have provided jobs for 20,000 people. The three Industrial parks were conceived to promote start-ups providing all infrastructural facilities. Each of these parks would have created 5,000 job opportunities. The drastic decision to scrap the project is taken since the group is dissatisfied and unhappy over the continuous harassment from of the authorities for no valid reasons whatsoever.Mr.Sabu.M.Jacob warns that anyone who invests in Kerala will lose peace of mind, especially those of who invest in Kerala with their lifetime savings will be driven to suicide by the frequent harassment from various governmental authorities. Mr.Jacob also, did not forget to sarcastically remark by saying that he would use the 30 acres of land purchased already for the project for agricultural purpose and would harvest bananas from there, which would give him peace of mind than being chased by the government authorities.
Further, he added that while our neighbouring states give a red carpet welcome to investors, Kerala government treats the Investors as traitors, exploiters, encroachers, capitalists and criminals and persons who invest money borrowed from banks and other sources are often humiliated in public.
He said other states are providing free land, building, water, power and tax holiday for 10 years to investors. There are states that provide the PF and ESI share of the employees. Some states even offer Rs 5,000 salary for the employees for five years. Mr.Jacob said that he do not look forward or demand any benefits from the government, but, at least they could stop harassing us and added that if the unhealthy situation continues, Investors will be forced to leave Kerala and Kerala will soon become a graveyard of Industries.
Mr.Jacob made it clear that the harassment from the government is not related to the growth of Twenty20, the corporate-led non-profit organisation that rules Kizhakkambalam panchayat, since Kitex has been facing harassment for more than decades.
As per the latest report Kerala government is taking all its best efforts to smoothen the ruffled feathers of Kitex and make them reconsider on continuing with the proposed project. The report states, Industries minister, Mr.P.Rajeev have already initiated dialogue with Mr. Sabu.M.Jacob and have assured him all cooperation from the government and asked him to directly approach him or the government rather than going viral on the Social media and the Press. However, let’s keep our fingers crossed and watch “what’s next”..!!.
Disclaimer:- The above report,facts and figures are an abstract in English language from the various interviews that Mr.Sabu.M.Jacob have given in Malayalam language to TV news media, press conferences and also what was in circulation in the Social media and not created or scripted by “Haulage News”