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Nightclub proposal triggers row for Kerala investment meet

Finding has angered government, with industry minister seeking an explanation

Oommen Chandy
Image Credit: Gulf News archive
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: The mega investment promotion meet of the Kerala government, proposed to open in Kochi this Wednesday, has been dragged into more controversy after it emerged that a nightclub was one of the investment proposals at the meet.

The finding has angered the government and reports say that industry minister P.K. Kunhalikutty has sought an explanation from T. Balakrishnan, managing director of Inkel, a public-private partnership enterprise that put forth the proposal. It is believed that the explanation will only be demanded after the conclusion of the Emerging Kerala meet this week.

There are also reports that senior industry department officials have already clarified to Kunhalikutty that the nightclub project had been withdrawn, and that it was only an oversight that the project continued to be on the official website. Some reports say that the project was only meant to be a family recreation centre that would be open all night, and that it was wrongly projected as a nightclub.

The issue was highlighted today (Sunday) by Congress leader K. Muraleedharan, who called for action against the bureaucrats responsible for including a nightclub among the investment proposals for the business meet which aims to showcase investment opportunities in Kerala.

Muraleedharan said some officials who had put the previous government into trouble continued to be active even today, and also called for the Kovalam palace to be preserved as a historical monument without allowing it to pass into the hands of private owners.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy continued to strongly back the investment meet, pointing out that most of the controversies were unnecessary, and that the government expected better co-operation from the Opposition. He said projects approved at the investment meet that did not require federal government sanction or clearance from the environment ministry would be provided working sanction within 90 days.

Chandy had earlier clarified that the investment meet would not feature signing of memoranda of understanding, and that it would be an opportunity for showcasing the investment opportunities in Kerala. The chief minister also appealed to end creating controversies over the investment meet.