Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 15 (IANS) A day after Emerging Kerala-2012, the three-day event meant to showcase Kerala as a potential investment destination ended, the Left and the BJP observed a shutdown Saturday to protest the hike in diesel prices announced by the central government.
The call for the shutdown was issued Thursday, when the decision to hike diesel prices was announced.
A disappointed delegate said, "This is the bane of Kerala. Just as the mega event ended, here comes a shutdown! Lots of people from outside the state are still here, and what impression will these people get if they are stuck here because of the shutdown?"
As the event drew to a close Friday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said it had been a grand success, but admitted that a clear picture of what has been achieved would take a while to emerge.
The government has reason to be cautious. A similar event was held in 2003, called "Global Investor Meet". There was much hype and much signing of Memoranda of Understanding, but little else afterwards.
Speaking of Emerging Kerala-2012, the chief minister said, "I have gained a lot of strength from this event. After feeling the abundant energy and enthusiasm flowing from the entrepreneurs assembled here, I am feeling young at heart."
"I believe from the bottom of my heart that revolutionary transformation of our state can happen from within our state. Kerala has to also emerge from within."
It wasn't all smooth sail for Chandy. In an attempt at greater transparency, the chief minister decided to put up on the state government's website all proposals that had been received. A section of the media and the Left raised a hue and cry, mistaking the proposals for projects already cleared.
"It will take us two months to vet the proposals. Only after that is done will we be able to come out with complete details of likely investments," Chandy said.
The three-day event saw 413 business-to-business discussions between the Kerala entrepreneurs and leading business people from other parts of the world.
At the end of the event, government sources said 2,512 business delegates had participated and 142 proposals were discussed with various government departments.
The Left Democratic Front had announced before the event that it saw the whole affair as detrimental to the interests of the state. Announcing a boycott, the Left had claimed that it was nothing but a ruse to "sell land on the sly".
In the next two months, the newly created Emerging Kerala Secretariat will look closely at proposals that can be given clearances.
Chandy offered an assurance that all aspects of the proposals would be examined before clearances are granted, and that it would be done in 90 days.