Friday, January 26, 2007

Kozhikode to be Kerala's next IT destination

Six high profile institutions in Kerala have come together to ensure that this north Kerala city becomes the next big IT destination in the state after Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.

The core group working towards a cyber park in Kozhikode consists of the Malabar Chamber of Commerce (MCC), Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIM-K), National Institute of Technology (formerly Regional Engineering College-Kozhikode), Kerala Builders Forum, the IT Forum of Kozhikode and the Calicut Management Association.

The project has the backing of the state government, said P. Zakeer, MCC president and secretary of the Calicut IT initiative (CITI).

'We had a full-fledged discussion with the special IT team of the government led by IT secretary K. Jyothilal. Things are on the right track. The government is fully convinced that Kozhikode has the potential to become Kerala's latest IT destination,' Zakeer told IANS.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who handles the IT portfolio, last week came out with a draft IT policy and also stressed that the district would be promoted in a big way and infrastructure developed too.

Leading IT companies operating from IT hubs Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Infopark at Kochi have also expressed their support for the venture.

'IBS, US Technology and NeST have all assured us that they would be the first to set up operations as and when Cyber Park becomes a reality,' said Zakeer.

'We are now looking for a 100 acre plot of land, hopefully near the airport. Since the state industries minister (Elamaram Karim) hails from Kozhikode, we are certain that things will move in the right direction and at a faster pace.'

Also boosting chances of the project seeing light of day are the large number of NRIs from Kozhikode who would be only too willing to chip in with funds to ensure speedy take off.

Kerala literary critic turns down Padma Shri

Noted Kerala literary critic and political commentator Sukumar Azhikode has turned down the Padma Shri, terming the awards are unconstitutional.

"According to the constitution, no citizen should be awarded because it leads to discrimination. This is not like a literary award," said the 75-year-old writer and speaker, known for his razor sharp tongue and views.

However, former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas, who has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, said the apex court has ruled that these awards should not be used as a title.

"Because of that I will not use this award alongside my name," said Thomas.

Amongst the other awardees from Kerala are dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panicker who got the Padma Bhushan. Master weaver P Gopinathan has got the Padma Shri.