MCC set to promote North Kerala as vital IT hub

Written by Agencies | Kozhikode, August 28: | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 19:22pm hrs
Coming into being in 1929 with the primary aim of looking after the interests of the trading and business community in North Kerala, the Malabar Chamber of Commerce has come a long way in developing the entire region and is now focussing on promoting the IT sector.

MCC has been instrumental in setting up various vital projects in the region like the Konkan railway and Karipur airport, which went on to gain international terminal status recently, and is now keen on empowering the Malabar region as a major it destination in the state.

With 1,500 direct members and another 5,000 from several affiliated associations, the MCC is today one of the leading chamber houses in the South.

"The Chamber has been very active ever since its inception,realising one after the other the demands of the people in the region, thanks to the support of successive state and central governments", said MCC President Zakir.

While the formation of Konkan railway eased up passenger traffic effectively, it was the setting up of Karipur airport in 1988 that really helped in accelerating business activity in the region by connecting it to the Gulf, he added.

NRIs stood to benefit the most with the launch of the airport, as otherwise they had to depend on the Nedumbassery airport in Kochi, which was time-consuming', he said.

Soon after the airport terminal was granted international status, there was a growing demand for allowing foreign airlines to operate from here, Zakir said, adding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took special interest in the matter and gave the nod early this year.

Commending Union Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed for his contribution in this regard, he said with the acquisition of another 136 acres of land to the existing 373 acres, the airport would soon be in a position to accommodate more international services.

Though regarded as one of the smallest international airports area wise, he said the passenger traffic here was so heavy that more and more Gulf-based airlines were showing an interest to launch their flights from the airport.

The MCC was now concentrating on developing the region into a major IT centre with active participation from the IIM and NIT here, Zakir said.

"We have formed the Calicut IT initiative recently with the support of IIM and NIT and several leading IT companies have evinced interest to tap the potential from the region', he said.

The MCC is organising a symposium on `Empowering IT at Malabar' on August 30, where the 20 top IT firms will identify and explore available talent in the area.

Besides taking up the task of developing the Beypore Port, the MCC had also urged the government to develop 300 acres of available land at Mavoor near here as an industrial township, he said.

"In addition to a cyber park, there is also a proposal to set up a techno park at Ramnattukkara near here', he said.

The MCC had also planned a series of programmes towards further developing the region by next year, when it would celebrate its 80th anniversary, Zakir said.

"We are working on a new list of activities that will gear up the region to compete with the best in the business in the IT field', he said.

Noting that the Chamber had representation in several leading bodies like the VAT and Airport Advisory Committee, he said it also sent pre-budgetary proposals to both the Centre and state every year.

"The governments invite our suggestions before every budget and many of our proposals concerning the region have been considered favourably," he said.

Since the MCC had representations in almost all leading Committee, Zakir said it was thus able to take care of the interests of the people in the region from time to time.