Petrochemical Park: Centre Okays Sale of FACT Land
Thiruvananthapuram: The Union Cabinet has approved the sale of 481.79 acres of land under FACT at Ambalamugal in Kochi to Kerala Government, setting the ball rolling for the establishment of the Rs. 1,200-crore Petrochemical Park project, nearly four years after it was conceived.
The Central Government’s approval will help FACT reduce bank borrowings and implement projects for enhancing fertiliser-production capacity and upgrading logistics and raw material handling facilities. FACT’s revival will, in turn, help generate more direct and indirect employment opportunities.
The proceeds from the sale will help the loss-making FACT to “address working capital deficiency, improve the balance sheet and enable the company to enhance physical and financial performance by implementing capacity expansion projects for sustainable growth of the company,” said an official statement.
According to Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) which is entrusted with setting up of the Petrochemical Park, the project is expected to be completed in the next two to three years, after developing basic infrastructure. According to officials at KINFRA, the land transfer may take three to six months by finishing all the payment modalities.
The Petrochemical Park is being entirely funded by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). Of the 481.79 acres of land, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)-Kochi has been allotted 170 acres for implementing the PSU oil company’s Polyols project.
The Park is proposed to be developed to facilitate the industries that use the downstream byproducts of BPCL, which is expanding its operations in Kochi. The Park will share boundaries with the BPCL’s Kochi Refinery, enabling companies which will come up there to use the byproducts of BPCL, mainly Polyols which is used in industries manufacturing automotive seats, mattresses, shoe soles, coatings and sealants, pharmaceuticals, food additives, fibres etc.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the Petrochemical complex along with the dedication of BPCL’s Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex to house the Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP).
Following the implementation of IREP, Kochi Refinery will have the capacity to produce 5,00,000 Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) of Propylene. Propylene is one of the main feed-stocks of petrochemicals. Using this capacity, BPCL is strategically entering the petrochemical sector to reduce dependence of the country on imports of petrochemicals. Production at the Park will follow the practices of units in Jurong in Singapore and industrial complexes in South Korea.
Products from these two projects are expected to result in foreign exchange savings to the tune of crores of rupees per annum for the country. The Park is expected to create a large number of employment opportunities in the State.
India Fort, a Great Inclusive Initiative by Magic Planet
The Magic Planet at KINFRA Film and Video Park in Thiruvananthapuram recently opened a new facility called ‘India Fort’ where youngsters with intellectual disabilities are given a platform to showcase their skills in arts, magic and circus. The venture was started in collaboration with the Government of Kerala.Justice (Retd.) P Sathasivam, Governor of Kerala, launched the ‘India Fort’ at a function held at Film and Video Park. The youngsters are trained to perform magic, circus and other such entertaining activities by well-known magician Gopinath Muthukad, who is also the Executive Director of the venture. The performers will also be paid for their services.
‘’At KINFRA, we are giving them a platform to exhibit their skills under the guidance of experts. Twelve theatres have been set up for this. What makes this venture even more unique is that all these people with disabilities can earn and live independently by being part of this. Those who can sing and dance can also be part of it. We have been getting very good response from the people for this initiative.” said Roshni Rob, Chief Marketing Co-ordinator, Magic Planet.
The venture, which was launched in a low key manner in 2014, steadily grew and became popular over the years. “With children with disabilities forming part of it, Magic Planet aims to become inclusive. Performers and their families are given free food and accommodation so that they can focus on their performances. Currently, 25 people aged between 19 and 27 years are performing at ‘India Fort’,” she added. The management of Magic Planet hopes to reach out to people with disabilities all over the world to urge them to be part of this venture. It is also gearing up to launch a new venture in August meant to showcase music performances. Over 100 youngsters will be selected as part of the initiative. In partnership with Kerala Social Mission, Magic Planet is going all out to promote inclusion and give job opportunities to people with disabilities.
Centre Clears Spices Park in Idukki District
Giving the spice cultivators of Idukki district a good reason to cheer, the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has approved the setting up of a Spices Park at Thodupuzha in the district. The Park, which is expected to put Idukki district on the Industries’ map of India, will come up in an area of 15.43 acres at Muttom. It will be operated by Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA).
“The total cost of the project is Rs. 19.88 crore. Of this, Rs. 5.67 crore will be borne by the Centre and the rest, that is Rs. 14.21 crore, will be taken care of by the State. KINFRA will complete the project within 21 months,” E P Jayarajan, Industries Minister, said in an official statement.
The Park will help the spice farmers of Idukki district to increase their market presence and ensure a safe market for spices produced in the State, shielding the farmers from setbacks caused by fall in prices, especially of pepper.
One of the key issues faced by the farmers is the fluctuating prices of spices. The cardamom growers of the district have also been seeking Central intervention to ensure stable prices for their produce for quite some time.
The basic infrastructure like water and electricity supply, road, waste treatment and warehouse facilities will be developed by KINFRA. At present, KINFRA is undertaking efforts to acquire another 45 acres of land for the project.