Kochi: Days after withdrawing from a Rs 3,500 crore investment project in the State, Chairman of the Kerala-based Kitex group Sabu Jacob on Thursday said he will leave for Hyderabad tomorrow by a special jet being sent by the Telangana government to discuss his new investment plans with them.
Jacob, who announced withdrawal of his group’s investment project in Kerala last week alleging harassment by state government officials, said he was invited by the Telangana government after his group had a discussion with them “at different levels” including the state Industries Minister K T Rama Rao and senior government officials.
“Tomorrow they are sending a jet to Cochin and we, five or six people are going to Telangana. It is a two-day visit. We will be back here on Saturday,” Jacob told PTI. Asked about his investment plans, Jacob said, “this is something like a marriage (proposal) and we cannot take a decision tomorrow”.
“But we will go (there) and see because there are other offers also from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh”, he said. Responding to a query whether he was planning to invest Rs 3,500 crore that was withdrawn from Kerala, Jacob said, “It is a different plan.That I cannot reveal it right now”. Kitex Garments Ltd had said it has decided to withdraw from the project signed during the “Ascend Global Investors Meet” organised by the state government here in January 2020, alleging that it was difficult for the company to run the existing industrial units in the state.
The industrialist had alleged that various units of Kitex were raided 10 times by officials from various departments during the past one month. He had alleged that officials comprising 40-50 in numbers, entered the factory units, carried out searches, prevented workers, including women employees, from doing their job, grilled them and harassed them.
Continuing his criticism, Jacob reiterated that the non-business friendly atmosphere still prevails in the state. Attacking the government, he alleged that Kerala industries minister P Rajeev sought to justify the actions of the officials who had carried out frequent inspections at his industry units, instead of addressing the issues he had raised.
“He didn’t address the issues we had raised. Instead he blamed us, saying what I said was wrong and it was shameful to Kerala. Whatever I said is…that is a truth”, Jacob claimed. Meanwhile, some Congress MLAs from Ernakulam district have written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking action against Kitex for allegedly not addressing the issue of pollution at its unit in Kizhakkambalam here. The government had said that the officials’ action against the Kitex were also on the basis of the complaint from opposition MLAs.