Kerala Industries Ministry is unaware of the investor-friendly atmosphere in other states, said Kitex Chairman Sabu Jacob
Kerala Industries Ministry is unaware of the investor-friendly atmosphere in other states, said Kitex Chairman Sabu Jacob
Pic: LinkedIn

Dubbing the Kerala Industries department as a ''frog in the well'', unaware of the investor-friendly atmosphere in other states, Kitex Group Chairman Sabu Jacob on Monday said Telangana has offered many incentives for his venture and assured no ''inspections'' would be carried out.

The Telangana government has offered cheap land, water and electricity for investors, which was unlike the attitude of the Kerala Industries Department, he told reporters here.

"They are like a frog in the well and unaware of the investor-friendly atmosphere in other states," he said.

On apprehensions of inspections, like 11 carried out in his units in Kerala in 30 days, he said the Telangana government assured him that no official would trouble any industry in that regard. They informed him that inspections would be held once in two or three years and that too with the knowledge of the Principal secretary or the minister concerned. "Even that will be informed well in advance after getting our permission and as per our convenience only," Jacob said.

Jacob was told that even if any lapses were found during the inspection, steps would be taken to rectify it at the governmental level and not publish it to "defame and let the business run into losses".

Jacob termed his discussions with Telangana Industries minister K T R Rama Rao as "like a talk with the CEO of the state".

He said Kerala's claim of a "single-window" clearance for investors was an "outdated system" as other states had implemented it around 25 years ago. "Kerala says we have single-window clearance. It's an outdated one. We are still discussing this method which was implemented by other states at least 25 years ago. Neither the Kerala government nor its officials know how well other states or countries are treating investors there and are only claiming that the state is investment friendly."

The Kitex group head also said that the main allegation against his business was that it was a polluting industry. "But the minister (Telangana) said it was a psychological issue and whatever technology we use, the people and civil society would find it difficult to accept. He said it was the government's responsibility and asked us not to worry about treatment of waste water and they would handle it."

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala assembly, V D Satheeshan asked Kitex officials to refrain from making statements that they would leave the state. "We don't want Kitex to leave Kerala. The management should refrain from spreading such campaigns. The government should take steps to resolve their issues," Satheeshan said.

The Left government has been probing charges of four Congress MLAs and has said that the inspections were a result of various complaints to the National Human Rights Commission, Kerala High Court and other authorities against the company.

Alleging harassment by the Kerala government officials, Jacob had in June end said his group was withdrawing its Rs 3,500 crore project from the state.

The Kerala government had said that it has an "open approach" towards issues raised by the Kitex group, even as the company stuck to its decision to back out from investing in the state, with its chairman alleging that he was being "hounded and kicked out."

"The government is still open...issues can be discussed with investors and take things forward," Industries Minister P Rajeev had told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. He was responding to Jacob's statement that he was not leaving his home state on his own, but was being "hounded and kicked out."

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