Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Tuesday asked Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to immediately intervene in the issue of garments major Kitex Group, which has already entered into a deal with the Telangana government to set up its unit there, after expressing displeasure over the way it was treated in Kerala.
Deputy leader of Congress in the Kerala Assembly and former state minister, K. Babu, said that it is strange that despite Vijayan sharing very good relations with the family of Sabu Jacob, the Chairman and Managing Director of Kitex Group, the Chief Minister has done nothing to resolve the burning issue.
“During 2011-16, I as a state minister after being told by then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had intervened and sorted out the issues facing Kitex then. One fails to understand why Vijayan is keeping mum. Everybody is certain that the present issue can be resolved if Vijayan takes the lead,” said Babu.
“Just see the response Jacob received from the other states… the Chief Ministers and other state ministers were running after him, inviting his company to their state, while here Vijayan is maintaining a laid-back approach. One fails to understand the reason.
“Another surprising thing is that the Left government here is trying to blame four Congress legislators from Ernakulam for raising complaints against Kitex. Is it not natural that when an issue arises in a particular locality, the local legislator intervenes? That’s what happened and nothing else,” added Babu.
Jacob along with his six-member team returned from Telangana on Sunday, after flying out in a private jet chartered by the Telangana government.
In Telangana, Jacob announced that Kitex Group will invest Rs 1,000 crore to set up an apparel manufacturing unit at the Kakatiya Mega Textiles Park (KMTP) in Warangal, after having a few rounds of discussions with Telangana Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao and other senior officials.
Jacob had earlier claimed that he was haunted and hunted by numerous government departments in the past one month in Kerala, a charge that was flatly denied by both Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Industries Minister P. Rajeev.
Kitex Garments, the second-largest children’s apparel manufacturer in the world, after a series of raids by various state government agencies, had announced the scrapping of the Rs 3,500 crore project for which it had signed a memorandum with the Kerala government at the ‘Ascend Global Investors Meet’ in Kochi in January 2020.
Jacob even went on record to state that the Kerala government was not providing any subsidy, including for power, noting that it was all profit for the state government and there was no professional interest being envisaged by it.
He had also alleged that things were at the mercy of the local-level leaders in Kerala, and even an upper division clerk in the state could scuttle the prospects of an industrialist.
Kerala is lagging behind in industrial growth and the attitude of the rulers and the bureaucracy is the reason behind this, he had said.
Jacob and his establishment witnessed 11 teams from various departments raiding the company in the past one month. Even the company employees were also grilled for hours.
It was then that Jacob had announced that he will move out of the state, following which offers poured in from nine states.
Even during the present controversy, the share value of Kitex continues to rise and after Jacob’s visit to Telangana and the subsequent announcement made by him, its share price rose by Rs 28 to touch Rs 168 and continues to rise.