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GMCI wants thrust on infrastructure

MANGALORE, JAN. 10. The President of the Greater Mysore Chamber of Industry (GMCI), Bangalore, Indra Prem Menon, on Saturday said the introduction of the Konkan Railway project had failed to trigger major developments in the industries in the hinterland. This required a close assessment, she added.

She was addressing a round table on "Investment opportunities in coastal Karnataka: Public and private partnership" organised by the GMCI and the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here.

"It is no more a matter of debate that a lopsided approach to development has done immense harm to the State. Today, we have a landscape that presents a stark difference between the developed Bangalore and Mysore districts and a vastly underdeveloped north and coastal Karnataka.

"What is of critical importance is the development of infrastructure. Bangalore may be rated among the top 12 technopolis of the world, but given the absence of an international airport and urban infrastructure of a global standard, it cannot be included in the top ten commercial and business centres of the world. Therefore, I am of the view that the pitfalls in our approach to development of Bangalore should be avoided when we talk of accelerating development in coastal region," she said.

She said the first priority should be given to integrated development of roadways, railways, and airways. With the policy on private sector participation in the development of infrastructure now acquiring clarity, it was easier to create world-class infrastructure through domestic and foreign investments.

Ms. Menon said that with its rich and diversified natural settings, coastal Karnataka had enormous potential for becoming an economic powerhouse. Ms. Menon said Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada districts held out immense promise for investments in the tourism, agro business and food processing, information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, and biotechnology sectors.

G.V. Viswanath, former Additional Chief Secretary of the State, delivered the keynote address. Herman Merckx, Consul General of Belgium, gave a special address.

R.D. Kini, President, KCCI, welcomed the gathering. C.R. Chikkamath, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director, Industries and Commerce, Rajaghatta Mohan, Director of the Department of Ports and Inland Water Transport of the State, G.J. Rao, Deputy Chairman, New Mangalore Port Trust, V.K. Talithaya, Senior Vice-President (HR), Mangalore Refineries and Petroleum Ltd., K.S.S. Murthy, Honorary General Secretary, Aluminium Association of India, Bangalore, D.S. Lingaraju, Senior Regional Traffic Manager, Konkan Railway, M.P. Naidu, Regional Manager, Bangalore Region, Larsen and Toubro, and S. Chandrashekar, Vice-President, GMCI, spoke.

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