Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Fincare Small Finance Bank strengthens presence in Kerala Opens first branch in Thiruvananthapuram; 4th in the State

Launches first Banking Outlet in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala

Aims to offer secure, seamless and paperless banking experience to customers

Fincare Small Finance Bank opened its first branch in Sasthamangalam, Thiruvananthapuram, taking the count in Kerala market to 4. With a network of 659 outlets across the country, the bank has built a deep connect with the Southern States.

Inaugurating the Banking outlet, Mr Ashish Misra, Chief Operating Officer – Retail Banking, said, “As customers transition from conventional modes to digital modes for accessing banking services, Fincare Small Finance Bank aims to be a front-runner in assisting this transition. The bank is a well-respected provider of deposit and loan products at attractive rates, doorstep service through experienced relationship managers, besides digital services that provide customer experience par excellence. We trust that the combination of high tech and high touch is something that the savvy customers would appreciate. The launch of Trivandrum branch fits well with our strategic intent to evangelize such customers”.

The Banking outlet at Thiruvananthapuram will offer a wide suite of products, including Savings and Current account with Sweep in–Sweep out facility, deposit products with attractive interest rates as well as loan against gold. The bank also offers other loan products such as loan against property, affordable housing loan, two-wheeler loans etc. which will be introduced after studying customer demand.

The Bank also offers modern banking services such as cash denomination of choice at all ATMs, UPI-enabled transactions, WhatsApp banking, mobile banking in 11 languages, ATM and Toll-Free Call Center in 7 languages, Internet Banking in two language options viz. English and Hindi. All these services are aimed at providing a ‘Smart’ banking experience to our customers and will be available toour esteemed customers at Thiruvananthapuram as well.

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Seven-day Nishagandhi Dance Fest to begin on Jan. 20

Dr C.V. Chandrasekhar to be conferred with Nishagandhi Puraskaram

The seven-day Nishagandhi Dance Festival will begin on January 20 at the sprawling Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here, enlivening the evenings of the city with the rhythmic chime of anklets of leading exponents as well as upcoming artistes of diverse Indian choreographic traditions.

Hon. Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the annual event at Nishagandhi Auditorium, at 6 pm, and present the prestigious Nishagandhi Puraskaram to eminent Bharatanatyam exponent and choreographer Dr C.V. Chandrasekhar.

The coveted honour, bestowed on top-notch choreographers in recognition of their outstanding contributions, carries a purse of Rs 1.5 lakh, a bronze statuette of Bharathamuni and citation, Hon. Minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswoms Shri Kadakampally Surendran told a press conference here today.

“Nishagandhi Dance Festival is an attractive and valued product showcased every year by Kerala Tourism. The event also promises days of happiness to visitors as well as the residents of the state capital, “Shri Surendran said.

Dr Chandrasekhar has been selected for the Nishagandhi Puraskaram in view of his invaluable contributions as a dancer, scholar and teacher, the Minister added.

The awardee and the dancers of the fest were selected by an eminent jury consisting of Shri C.P. Nair, former Chief Secretary of Kerala, and writer; Dr V.R. Prabodhachandran Nair, Linguist; Smt Methil Devika, Dancer and choreographer; Smt Rani George, Secretary, Tourism; and Shri P Bala Kiran, Director, Tourism.

Octogenarian Dr Chandrasekhar has a PG Diploma in Bharatanatyam, besides undergoing training at Kalakshethra, Chennai, under the tutelage of legendary Bharatanatyam exponents like Rukminidevi Arundale, Karaikal Saradambal, and K.N. Dhandaipani Pillai.  He is also a mentee of Carnatic musicians Budalur Krishnamurthy Sastri and MD Ramanathan.

Dr Chandrasekhar has performed on stages along with his danseuse wife Smt Jaya Chandrasekhar and daughters Chithra and Manjari. He embraced dance as his profession and later joined Banaras Hindu University.

In 1992, he retired as the Head of Performing Arts and Dean from MS University, Baroda. At present, Dr Chandrasekhar is running a dance institution, ‘Nrithyasree’, in Chennai. A Padma Bhushan awardee, he was conferred with Sangeet Natak Academi Award in 1993, and Kalidas Samman in 2008.

“Dr Chandrasekhar is not just a brilliant performer and choreographer but also a highly revered guru who has moulded many doyens in the domain of dance,” said Smt Devika. On the selection of performers for the festival, she said the list includes highly dedicated upcoming artistes as well.

Besides the members of the jury, Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George, Director Shri P Bala Kiran and Additional Director Shri Krishna Teja were also present at the press meet.

This edition of the festival will feature performances of P. Praveen Kumar, Arun Sankar, Mansia. P.V, Arjun. S. Kulathingal, N. Srikanth, Aswathy Srikanth, Devika Sajeevan and Jyothsna Jaganathan (Bharatanatyam); Kalamandalam Veena Warrier, Dr RLV Ramakrishnan& group, Madhavi Chandran, and Dr Sumitha Nair. N (Mohiniyattam); Kavitha Dwibedi& group (Odissi); Bimbavathi Devi (Manipuri); Navin. R. Hegde, and Rohini Prabhath (Kathak); and Geetha Padmakumar&group, Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant and Reshma. U. Raj (Kuchipudi).

On the inaugural day, ‘Nrithya Dhara’, a fusion of Odissi, Chhau, Mohiniyattam, Kathak and Manipuri, will be staged. Padma Shri Ranjana Guhar and Utsav Repertory, Guru Santhosh Nair, Sandhya, Guru Jayaprabha Menon, Guru Vidya Lal and Guru Mangoljao Singh.

As the nation is commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a specially choreographed production on the life and message of the Father of the Nation will be staged on January 26.

Eminent artistes, including Shri Kalamandalam Gopi will perform in the “Kathakali Mela”to be held in parallel to the dance festival on all the seven days.

Shri Kadakampally Surendran will preside over the inaugural ceremony, which will be attended by Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP, Shri V K Prashanth, MLA, Shri K Sreekumar, Mayor, Shri V K Madhu, District Panchayat President, Shri Palayam Rajan, Councillor, and Shri M Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC.  Smt Rani George, Secretary, Tourism, will welcome the gathering and Shri P Bala Kiran, Tourism Director, will propose a vote of thanks

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ATM to launch inaugural in-destination forum Arival Dubai @ ATM

Attractions are currently the third largest and fastest growing sector within the travel and tourism industry, representing approximately US$180 billion in global travel spend annually

Arival Dubai@ ATM to showcase next-gen of in-destination trends and innovations as part of Middle East’s largest gathering of hospitality professionals

Travel, tourism and hospitality professionals from around the world will have an opportunity to explore the next generation of in-destination trends and innovations at the Middle East’s first ever edition of Arival Dubai @ ATM, which will take place alongside Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020 at Dubai World Trade Centre from 19 – 22 April 2020.  The dedicated forum, which will take place on Sunday 19th April, will enable vendors, agents and operators of tours, activities and attractions to gain invaluable insights into the latest trends and challenges impacting the in-destination industry, as well as improving customer experience and business development throughout the Middle East market. 

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “According to the latest data from research firm Phocus wright, tours, activities and attractions are currently the third largest and fastest growing sector within the travel and tourism industry, representing approximately US$180 billion in global travel spend annually. Addto this, one third of tours, activities and attractions are booked online at present with the Middle East representing one of the world’s fastest growing online travel experience markets and we can see a pattern forming.”

Given their competitive edge, it is clear that professionals within the tours and attractions segment in the Middle East as well as associated travel brands, need to invest in the latest technology and innovative online booking tools in order to capitalise on this rapidly expanding travel experiences sector.

Delegates at the inaugural Arival Dubai@ ATM forum will have access to a packed conference agenda featuring high-profile keynote speakers, with Arival Co-Founder and CEO Douglas Quinby, kicking-off proceedings with a session on the current and future in-destination trends, challenges and opportunities shaping the Middle East sector.

The forum will also feature ‘Ask Me Anything Interviews’ with a range of senior executives from leading attractions and online agencies within the region.There will also be severalround-table discussions on innovations and distributions impacting the in-destination industry and changing consumer behavior, as well as providing insights into the key technological trends in online booking, connectivity, mobile ticketing, revenue management, and digital marketing best practices designed specifically for tour and attraction operators.

The original edition of Arival was launched in Las Vegas in 2017, with conferences now taking place across Europe, Asia and the United States. Owing to the success of Arival events to date, Arabian Travel Market organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions, partnered with Arival to bring the very first event of its kind to the Middle East.

Douglas Quinby, Co-Founder and CEO, Arival, said: “The Middle East has become a rising star in the travel and tourism industry with tours, activities, attractions and experiences becoming one of the fastest growing sectors. However, cutting-edge technologies and innovations as well as the rapidly evolving demands of travellers today are presenting various distinct challenges for all stakeholders involved in tours, activities and attractions.

Through our partnership with ATM, the leading global trade fair for the region, we are bringing Arival’s signature conference programming, research and insights to the Middle East travel and tourism arena to enable industry professionals in the region to capitalise on the various opportunities that the in-destination sector presents.”

Arival Dubai @ ATM will form part of this year’s Arabian Travel Week, an umbrella brand comprising several co-located shows including Arabian Travel Market 2020; ILTM Arabia; the inaugural Travel Forward – a new tech and hospitality innovation event; dedicated conference summits and buyer forums for key source markets India, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China and ATM Speed Networking Events.

Running from 16 – 23 April2020, this week-long festival of events for travel professionals invites the international travel community to Dubai to shape the next 12 months of tourism through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches, parties and more

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New campus, digital varsity status for IIITM-K

The proposed anointment as Digital University is eventually a double delight for Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management–Kerala (IIITM-K) that has introduced learning and research in a number of revolutionary information technology courses in the country.   Established in 2000 by the State government, IIITM-K is a premier institution of excellence in science, technology and management located at Technopark here. The honour is conferred on IIITM-K at a time when it is all set to shift to its new world-class campus in Technocity at Pallipuram in the capital city. Following the proposed university status, it is set to be known as “The Kerala University of Digital Sciences Innovation and Technology.”

The ‘green campus’ will have world-class facilities including an auditorium, administrative and academic blocks, students hostel, library and laboratory wing, faculty and non- faculty residences, director’s residence, and community centre.  The new campus will have learner-centric environment, facilitated by state-of-the-art infrastructure in cutting-edge areas in fast-paced technology domains.  IIITM-K, affiliated to Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), currently has four MSc Programmes in Cyber Security, Machine Learning, Ecological Informatics, Data Analytics and Geospatial Analytics. It also has two MPhil programmes in Computer Science and Ecological Informatics, besides doctoral programmes in Computer Science.

The sole hardware incubator Maker Village, Kochi, is functioning under IIITM-K, and the varsity status will be a boon for Maker Village.   A team of researchers led by scientists of IIITM-K had successfully integrated Crop Simulation Model (CSM) on a cloud platform. CSMs are decision-making frameworks that provide plot-level advisory to cultivators and take into consideration the dynamics in factors that affect crop productivity.

It admits students for PhD programmes in IT related topics in the areas of Distributed Computing, Software Engineering, advanced computing areas like High Performance Computing, Grid and Cloud Computing, Security, Computer Networks etc. 

India’s first Blockchain academy, Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA), was set up by the government under IIITM-K.

KBA has become the first official Hyperledger training partner in India after it was chosen by the US-based Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project as a feature member organization for offering training courses. KBA is also a General Partner of R3 consortium of Corda Blockchain. IIITM-K has expertise in Cognitive Technologies, Big Data Analytics, Blockchain and Fintech, Cyber Security and it also has proven research potential in Geospatial analytics that leverage Space Technologies. Apart from education-related projects, it hosts centres for data engineering, cyber security, software engineering, and KBA

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International Biodiversity Congress (IBC 2020) comes back to Thiruvananthapuram

The International Biodiversity Congress (IBC), the largest get together of researchers, academicians and civil society held biannually to discuss the current strategies and future directions to conserve, sustainably use and equitably share biodiversity, and to create ecological civilizations by working on awareness and education platforms, will make its come back to Thiruvananthapuram, the city of its origin. IBC 202 will be held at the University of Kerala Karyavattam campus from November 25 to 27, 2020.

Dr Vandana Shiva, Founder, Navdanya, Delhi, announced the return of IBC to Thiruvananthapuram at a Press Conference held in the city. The general objectives of IBC are: To facilitate a shift towards ecological civilization that value, cherish and conserve biodiversity to achieve sustainable development goals, both at national and international platforms; To strengthen capacity and to promote networking in order to popularise the philosophy of biodiversity for ecological civilization; To provide an interdisciplinary platform on matters related to the status, conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity; and To showcase the rich biodiversity heritage of the planet and the linkage between biodiversity, economy, ecosystem services, aesthetics, and cultural evolution.

Speaking to the media here, Dr Vandana Shiva said biodiversity in India currently faces two threats. In an era where agriculture is facing challenges, organic farming offers hope. However, fake foods are flooding the marketplace. They have been taking over the markets in the name of farm-free food, dairy-free milk et al. These fake foods have triggered serious health concerns. There are also wide spread attempts to develop new seed varieties through generic mapping under the veil of seed research. Those behind such attempts are also trying to secure patents for cropssuch developed. This is a serious concern, she added.

The IBC 2020 will have the theme “BIODIVERSITY TARGETS 2020 AND BEYOND:  Status and Aspirations”. This theme topic has been selected, since the UN General Assembly declared theperiod2011-2020 as “United Nations Decade on Biodiversity” to promote the implementation of astrategic plan on biodiversity and its overall visionof living in harmony with nature. It is also a periodin which the governments have to take concertedefforts to achieve “Aichi Target” or the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for addressing the underlyingcauses of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressureson biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels,enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity.

Theimportance of biodiversity and ecosystems is alsoreflected in many of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. Towards the end of 2020 nations throughout the world are in the process to assess how much progress they have made in halting biodiversity loss and to conserve biodiversity. IBC will discuss this aspect and forward the suggestions and aspirations to improve the activities, especially in the context of: (i) increasing population and consumption; (ii) increasing pressure from development, and (iii) changing climate and decreasing resilience of natural ecosystems.

IBC 2020 also will have a special symposium on “Biodiversity, Development and Eco-restoration”, in the context of increasing biodiversity loss (especially in agricultural sector) under developmental pressures and in the perspective of speeding up eco-restoration activities as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 proclaimed by the United Nations General. Assembly (UNGA).

This year, IBC expects representatives from United Nations bodies attending the meeting, including those from CBD, UNEP and IUCN. Participants will include Academicians, researchers, students, citizen scientists, Farmers, Farmer Representatives, Social Activists, Community Representatives etc.

Dr.A.G.Pandurangan, Former Director, KSCSTE-JNTBGRI; Dr C Sureshkumar, General Secretary, CISSA; Dr. P Krishnan, Emeritus Scientist, Malabar Botanic Garden;        Prof.A Biju Kumar, University of Kerala; AjithVenniyoor (CISSA) were among  those who participated in the press conference.

TheFirst IBC was launched under the auspices of CISSA and Navdanyain the International Year of Biodiversity in the year 2010. Subsequently bi-annual IBCs were held at Bangalore (Indian Institute of Science), Chennai (SRM University), Pondicherry (Central University) and Dehradun (Forestry Research Institute).

 

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ASCEND 2020: Entrepreneurs call for reforms

Successful entrepreneurs from Kerala, who have made their mark globally, today called for a number of changes, including amendments to the Kerala Land Reform Act, Building Rules and Factories Act to help the state emerge as the most-friendly investment sanctuary in the country.  While narrating their success stories in a panel discussion on “Doing Business in Kerala” at the two-day global investors meet, ASCEND 2020 Kerala, here, the business magnates unanimously suggested an effective fast-track system for infrastructure such as electricity and water connections and environment clearance. They also demanded Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) increasing its loan ceiling to Rs100 crores.

 

Shri V.K. Mathews, Founder and Executive Chairman, IBS Group, said timely approval and compliance are important as far as an entrepreneur is concerned. The business community has to be insulated from the ordeal of shuttling from one government office to the other.  Shri Mathews said in Kerala access to officials and Ministers is easy compared to other States. “The social and political stability in Kerala is better compared to other states. Issues are bound to happen but we have to overcome them with the help of access to the immense potential here.”   

“The job scene is changing drastically. The best way to create new jobs is through building new businesses. A digital revolution is needed in Kerala as we have immense potential in the sector. Developing Kerala as a startup capital is very important, and we can bring technology as a facilitator while the government can assume the role of regulator,” he added.   

Dr V.K. Ramachandran, Vice Chairman, State Planning Board, Government of Kerala, said the government is committed to investment that is highly productive, generating high income and employment besides being sustainable.

“These four criteria are among the hallmarks of the investment policy. This investment push of the government is a significant new achievement. Recognising the potential of Kerala, there is a galaxy of industrialists, who have built vibrant enterprises in the state and beyond its borders.”   

Shri M.A. Yusuff Ali, Founder, Lulu Group International, asserted that the state must market its potentials rather than exaggerate local issues like short spread of Nipah virus, which gravely affected its exports of vegetables and fruits.

Commenting on job creation, Shri Ali said: “It’s not the sole responsibility of the government to create jobs. Everyone is accountable for it. Since we are thickly populated, large industries can’t come here. However, we can easily tap our strengths in information technology and tourism. Moreover, we need academic reforms that may pave the way for setting up large institutions in the state.”           

Shri Sabu. M. Jacob, Chairman, and Managing Director, Kitex Garments Ltd, said, “We export garments for kids of the age group from zero to 24 months to the US, where we have a strong presence. It shows how good the investment climate is in the State.” 

Meanwhile, Dr B. Ravi Pillai, Founder and Managing Director, RP Group of Companies, urged a concerted effort by the government, officials and people to root out the impediments to the state’s growth.

Shri J.K. Menon, Chairman, ABN Corporation, opined that programmes and seminars like Ascend 2020 Kerala must reach the public to create general awareness about the favourable milieu for investment here. 

Recalling his success story, Shri K.E. Moidu, Managing Director, Peekay Steel, said the support he received from bureaucrats and political parties was tremendous. “We have had no industry or labour-related problems. I am proud to say that we have not lost any single day due to labour problems.”  

According to Shri V. Abdul Razak, Managing Director, VKC Footwear, although his firm employed 16,000 employees he still had no labour issues.  Shri K. Paul Thomas, Founder f ESAF Group, and Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Kerala State Council, said: The integrity of the people in the state is commendable. Post the flood, we had apprehensions about loan defaults. We rescheduled the loans and only 10,000 of them are still left to be closed.”  Noting that issues are a common phenomenon, Shri Thomas said that in Kerala, we can access the top officials easily to raise an issue.  “Job creation will happen through micro enterprises. We have given loans to 9 lakh entrepreneurs, and 30 per cent among them have given jobs to people. From my experience, I can say that in Kerala employment generation is double compared to 16 other states where we have presence. Around 60 per cent of our employees are women.”

Shri Jose Dominic, CEO, ‘Brand Guardian’ of CGH Earth Hotels, also spoke. Shri MSA Kumar, President, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Kerala Chapter, was the moderator. On the sidelines of the programme, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan launched the website of the Kerala Government initiative Overseas Keralites Investment and Holding Ltd. (OKIH), www.okih.org.

Dr K. Ellangovan IAS, Principal Secretary, (Industries and NORKA), and also the Director of OKIH; Shri O.V. Musthafa, Vice Chairman, OKIH; and Dr Baju George, Managing Director, OKIH, were also present

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ASCEND 2020: Top players in tourism sector underscore PPP model

 Lauding the pivotal role played by the government in the success of Kerala’s tourism, industry leaders speaking at a panel discussion at ASCEND Kerala 2020 investment conclave, today called for further cementing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to attract investment in globally appealing products and services.

Setting the context for the discussion on “Projects on Tourism and Hospitality”, Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said while tourism in Kerala was poised to scale new heights, the sector offered tremendous investment opportunities to the private sector.

“Tourism in Kerala is essentially a private sector driven activity. The government is only a facilitator. Our approach is to welcome and support private investors,” he said.

Noting that Kerala tourism was on a growth trajectory, Shri Surendran said there is quite a long list of new project ideas that promise good returns to investors. These include MICE tourism, Malabar Cruise, cultural and heritage projects focusing on different regions and eco and adventure tourism.

The Champions Boat League (CBL), successfully launched in 2019, is a key area that holds tremendous investment potential, he noted.

“Tourism contributed 10 to 12 per cent of the state’s income. It is vital for job generation and brings benefits to the local community.  Our approach is to facilitate sustainable development of tourism without causing stress to the environment. The government is open to all good investment proposals,” the Minister said.

Noting that there has been a broad consensus in the state that tourism activities should not be hampered in any manner, he said certain isolated incidents that went against this were mere aberrations.

Giving a snapshot of Kerala tourism’s current status, Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George IAS, said in 2018, Kerala was visited by 1.09 million foreign tourists and 15.6 million domestic visitors. This was despite the huge damage inflicted by the devastating floods on prime destinations, from which the sector has bounced back through strategic planning and support of stake-holders.

The first three quarters of 2019 saw an impressive growth of 15.73 per cent.

While it is necessary to have more upscale properties for the growth of segments like MICE tourism, a unique feature of Kerala’s tourism development has been its due emphasis on sustainable and community-centred activities, driven by the Responsible Tourism Mission, Smt George added.

Moderating the discussion, Shri Jose Dominic, CEO, ‘Brand Guardian’, CGH Earth Hotels, noted that tourism in Kerala had come a long way in the last four decades, when it was largely seen a luxury activity for the rich.

“The inclusive socio-political culture of Kerala has been a vital factor in the growth of tourism in the state. Now we are not followers but global leaders, as our model is being emulated by others,” Shri Dominic, an industry veteran, said.

Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran IAS, said of late, the thrust has been on launching new products that will be appealing to visitors who look forward to a complete experience. This had started yielding good results as reflected in the recent figures, he added.

Noting that the state needs to make a big leap in getting big-ticket investment, Shri Adeeb Ahmed, MD, Lulu Financial Group, Twenty 14 Holdings, suggested the state should create an SPV (special purpose vehicle) to build world class infrastructure on PPP model.

“Such an entity can identify and create infrastructure and then auction them out to international investors. We need to adopt a global, inclusive approach to enhance investor confidence”, Mr Ahmed said.

Shri Davis Karadan, Chairman, Softouch International FZC, said as a unique product, Kerala Ayurveda had great potential to attract visitors from all parts of the world. “If properly marketed, Kerala can become the world capital of Ayurveda,” he said.

Shri Abraham George, Chairman and Managing Director, Intersight Tours and Travels, said Kerala should pay urgent attention in improving mobility, especially the road system, and seriously address the issue of waste management. These are two critical areas that call for immediate attention to maintain the growth of tourism, he added.

Smt Shruti Shibulal, CEO, Tamara Leisure Experiences Pvt Ltd, said the hospitality industry has good prospects across the state. One promising area is pilgrimage and cultural tourism, which now lack good, modern facilities, she noted, adding a variety of products can be brought in to the state, which will generate quite a lot of jobs and help local communities.

Around 30 tourism and hospitality projects, cutting across the state, were showcased at the conclave.

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Kerala needs early completion of 13 non-major ports: Kadannappally at ASCEND

Kerala requires earliest completion of its notified 13 non-operational ports considering their potential to boost the economy of the state that has a coastline of 590 km, Minister for Ports Shri Ramachandran Kadannappally said today,

Noting that Kerala has only four non-major ports functioning besides the nine-decade-old Kochi port that is major, he told ASCEND 2020 Kerala Global Investors Meet that the ongoing development of the 13 others was of immense value considering the special characteristics of maritime trading.

“For one, ships consume less fuel vis-à-vis other modes of transport and, hence, emit lesser carbon. Two, they can carry much larger quantities of cargo,” the minister noted at a parallel session on ‘Projects on Infrastructure: Aeropolis and Ports’. He also stressed the need for Kerala to have larger ports considering the huge size of vessels these days.

At the opening remarks of the 90-minute session on the final day of the January 9-10 event organised by Kerala’s Department of Industries, the minister listed out the names of the ports at different stages of development and called upon investors to join the government’s efforts to boost the state’s maritime trade that has a history of centuries.

Highlighting the bid to rejuvenate the Kodungallur port (Thrissur district) that had a seaport functioning from the 1st century, Shri Ramachandran also spoke of the perceived benefits of the Azhikkal port in Kannur. Both the endeavours could invigorate coastal and hinterland trade, he noted.

Kannur International Airport Managing Director Shri V Thulasidas, in a panel discussion that followed the minister’s speech, said the Azhikkal port’s proximity (30 km) to the Kannur airport (in Mattannur) ideally made the two projects share a symbiotic relationship. The two establishments can promote transport of cargo by air as well as sea, he noted at the session moderated by Shri Vasudevan S, Partner, KPMG in India.

Further, the Kannur airport can strengthen Kerala’s tourism north of the state, considering its connectivity with places such as Bekal (Kasargod), Wayanad and Coorg (in Karnataka, across the border) that are inviting high footfalls in recent years, Shri Thulasidas pointed out. “Kannur airport can prove to be vital to Kerala tourism in the next five years,” he added.

Shri V J Mathew, Chairman of the Kerala Maritime Board, emphasised the need for the betterment of Kerala’s coastal roadways so that ports could play a big role in the state’s economic development.

Shri Praveen Thomas Joseph, CEO of India Gateway Terminals, said the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Kochi’s Vallarpadam was expecting an expanded infrastructure by 2022.

ASCEND 2020 Kerala, which was inaugurated on Thursday by the Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, aims to further reform ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the state.

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Silver Line rail holds big investment opportunities: KRDCL at ASCEND 2020

Besides creating a fast and clean travel option across the state, the proposed 532-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed Rail (SHSR) corridor project will throw up big investment opportunities for the private sector, a top official of Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) said at ASCEND 2020 global investors conclave here today.

Showcasing the Rs 66,405-crore project at the event, KRDCL MD Mr V Ajith Kumar said the project will provide ample opportunities for private investment in areas ranging from civil and electrical contracts to tourism and hospitality business. 

There are investment opportunities in Transit Orient developments, Engineering-Procurement-Construction contracts worth Rs 38,000 crore for civil, electrical and system works, supply and operation of rail coaches,  high speed freight trains and  tourist trains, renewal power generation of around 300 MW, power storage systems etc, said Mr Ajith Kumar.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), to be formed as part of the project, will set apart a substantial stake for the private sector for a wide array of related business and services, he said  in his presentation at a panel discussion on Mobility Development and Electric Vehicles. The panellists at the session included Transport Principal Secretary Shri K R Jyothilal IAS.

These include commercial land development and real estate, leasing and operation of rolling stock, owning and operation of RORO system and last-minute connectivity by e-vehicles.

Also, big investment is possible in the tourism and hospitality segment when the project is completed and trains start moving, Mr Ajith Kumar said.

 A joint venture of Kerala Government and the Ministry of Railways, the project has been cleared by the State Cabinet and also received in-principle approval of the Ministry of Railways which enables pre-investment activities.

Trains running on "Silver Line" will be covering the 532 km end-to-end distance from Kochuveli in state capital to Kasaragod by four hours, which now takes around 12 hours.

The completely green project also promises a set of long-term benefits like sharply reducing the road congestion caused by private vehicles and freight carrying trucks and significantly bringing down air pollution from emissions by petroleum fuel-driven motor vehicles

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South India Travel Expo (SITE 2020) to be held at Thiruvananthapuram

South India Travel Expo – SITE 2020, the biggest travel, tourism and hospitality expo in South India will be held at Uday Palace, Kowdiar, Trivandrum, Kerala from 7th May to 10th May, 2020. The official brochure for SITE 2020 was released by Union Minister for Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel at an event held at New Delhi. “SITE 2020 will be a game changer for South India tourism and will surely boost the tourism and hospitality business prospects of South India states” he said. Manoj Babu, CEO, SITE 2020, Siji Nair, Managing Director, Metro Media and Prasad Manjali, Managing Director, Citrine Hospitality were present at the function.

South India Travel Expo is envisioned as a grand networking venue for key players in hospitality industry from the South Indian states and focus on tourism exchange between southern states of India. The event is being organised by South Kerala Hoteliers’ Forum (SKHF) in association with South India Hotels and Restaurants Association (SIHRA). The event is supported by Kerala tourism and other South Indian state tourism boards.

The event will host around 3000 travel, tour operators both from India and abroad and will have 200+ stalls. First day (8th) of the event is dedicated to trade category, second day (9th) to Corporate category. The third day (10th) will be open for general public. Those who are interested to participate are requested to register at www.skhfsite.com. For details, contact: 9947733339

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