India’s first defence industrial park to be launched in Kerala


Defence Industrial Corridor: In order to take advantage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid to push for greater indigenisation of defence manufacturing in the country, Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala is set to launch first dedicated defence park in Palakkad district of the state.

Located at Ottappalam on the Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor, the 60-acre park with state-of-the-art infrastructure is intended exclusively for manufacturing of defence equipment for the armed forces.

The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA), the nodal agency for the project, has completed infrastructure development and civil works at the park, said Santosh Koshy Thomas, Managing Director, KINFRA.

“We are looking at leading companies such as BEML, HAL, and BEL as anchor investors,” said Santosh Koshy Thomas.

“The defence park is primarily aimed at MSMEs. We have held talks with them and some hundred entities have shown interest. We are confident that several small and micro enterprises will set up units in the defence park,” Thomas added.

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Last year, Kerala was able to attract investment worth Rs 400 crore in the state.

The focus on MSMEs is expected to push self-reliance in defence manufacturing which the Union government has been promoting. Of the 60-acre premises, 47.50 acres would be allotted to companies.

India’s defence sector is presently dominated by public sector undertakings that assign contract work to private companies, including small and medium companies.

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KINFRA offers amenities to defence companies

The location of the park near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, with easy connectivity by road, rail and air, and its access to the Kochi international airport and the Coimbatore airport, which is  less than two hours away by road, are offered as a major advantage to potential investors.

The total project cost including expenditure on land acquisition is estimated at Rs 191 crore.

Out of this, Rs 50 crore is a grant under the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation (MIIU) Scheme of the Union government and the balance investment of Rs 141 crore is being made by the Government of Kerala (KINFRA).

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Santosh Koshy Thomas, MD, KINFRA

Santosh Koshy Thomas, MD, KINFRA.

As part of infrastructure creation, KINFRA has constructed a common utility centre, warehouses, standard design factory, administrative building, service yard, car parking, etc. which would now be leased out.

“The park has 3,28,630 sq feet of common facility centre and 19,000 sq ft of warehouse facility,” Thomas told media.

The lease period for land has been set at 30 years and can be extended by another 60 years. The lease period for the built-up space is 10 years and can be extended by another 30 years.

Of the lease premium, 10 per cent has to be deposited within 30 days, with the remaining amount having to be paid in five years. To attract investors, KINFRA is exempting companies that set up units from payment of registration fees and stamp duty.

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Thomas said the state government is determined to position the park as a centre of competence for world-class defence manufacturing, in keeping with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre. It would be a hub for multi-pronged activities that include R&D, manufacturing and testing of equipment.

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Its focus areas would include components of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, defence navigation products, components of tactical vehicles, submarine building, components of warships, defence IT systems and solutions, avionics, tactical communication system, space robotics maintenance, micro-satellite.

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