Government of Kerala following its ‘hub & spoke’ model of development of IT industry in the State has established ‘Cyberpark’ in Kozhikode as a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 which will form the ‘hub’ in the Malabar region. Cyberpark proposes to set up an IT/ITES park in Kannur as its first spoke as SEZ for the overall development of IT industry in the Malabar region in general and Kannur district in particular. The park is named CYBERPARK, Kannur. About 10.375 Hectors of revenue land has already been handed over by Government of Kerala for this project. It is expected that implementation of an IT Park with state-of-art infra–structure facilities and professional administration will attract several major players of the industry to come and establish their business here which in turn will give an impetus for the sustained growth of this traditionally backward region.
As a part of initial infrastructure development, the following facilities are proposed to be created by Cyberpark.
Cyberpark is a society formed by GoK under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 with the main object of acting as a hub for the development of the IT/ITES industry in northern region of the Kerala State. It is formed in line with Technopark in south and Infopark in the central regions. Its first project is the development of Cyberpark in Kozhikode and as its spokes Kannur. Another spoke Kazargode IT parks is on the pipe line.
Location – Kannur
The town of Kannur is the district headquarters, and gives the district its name. The old name Cannanore is the anglicised form of the Malayalam name Kannur. Kannur District is bounded by Kasaragod District to the north and Kozhikode District to the south. To the east the district is bounded by the Western Ghats, which forms the border with Karnataka state, in its districts of Kodagu and Chamarajanagar. The Arabian Sea lies to the west.
Kannur District is located at 11°40 N 74°52'E / 11.48°N 76.07 °E and covers an area of 2996 km2 The district can be geographically divided into highland, midland and lowland regions. The district has a generally humid climate with an oppressive hot season from March to the end of May. The district is well connected by Road, Rail and Air. Other modes of transportation include auto rickshaws, taxis, and ordinary and luxury buses.
The international airport at Kozhikode is the nearest air port at present which is located about 125 KMs away from the headquarters. However, the 4th International airport in the state is nearing completion at Mattannur in Kannur District. With completion of this airport, the district will become directly accessible by air.
The pollution free atmosphere and the large pool of skilled human talent available in the region make it the most suitable destination for knowledge based industries.
The availability of low cost highly skilled resources, of which a substantial portion is qualified female IT professionals, good civil infrastructure including the up coming international airport and proximity to Kozhokode and Mangalore air ports, good quality hospitals, schools, shopping malls and entertainment facilities etc., it is imperative that an SEZ must be developed at the earliest in order to ensure the growth of knowledge based units in the region and thereby to the further social and economical development of the region as well as to penetrate the economic growth in to the peripheral rural economy from the urbans, where it is presently concentrated. The current proposal for establishing an IT SEZ in Kannur is a step in this direction.
Kannur – Economy
A majority of the population of the district is dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood. The main crops grown in the district are paddy, coconut, pepper, cashew, tapioca, arecanut and plantation crops like rubber. Asia's largest cinnamon estate producing cinnamon spice established by Lord Brown of British East India company in the year CE 1767 is located at Anjarakandy in Kannur district.
On the industrial sector, Kannur district has had industrial importance from very early days. Being blessed with a variety of factors such as good soil, salubrious climate, rich forests, enormous fishing potentials, minerals as well as infrastructural facilities like road, rail, inland water transport, etc., the district offers ample scope for the development of industries. Nevertheless, Kannur is an industrially backward district in the state. There is only one major and five mini industrial estates in the district. Keltron Complex, Mangattuparamba and Western India Plywood's, Valappattanam are the two major industries. The district has 12 medium-scale industries, most of which are either cotton textile or plywood manufacturing.
Handloom Textiles, beedi and coir are the important traditional industries in the district. About one lakh people depend on the textile industry for livelihood. The first ready-made garment unit in Kannur and the first hosiery unit in Kuthuparamba were started around the end of the 19th century. The beedi industry provides employment to about 50,000 people. The coir industry which uses traditional technology provides employment to about 11,000 workers. Kannur, Thalassery, Payyannur, Taliparamba and Edakkad have been identified as growth centers, having potential for industrial development.
Kannur in terms of Education and R&D
Kannur houses the following six medical colleges.
The engineering colleges in the district are:
Some of the other major institutes in Kannur are:
Demand for Office Space
Real estate sector has witnessed heightened activity due to perceptible demand in all sectors; hospitality, residential, retail and office space. Traditionally the demand from leisure travellers to tourist destinations to Wayanad and northern region of Kerala has been fuelling the growth and development of hospitality industry. In future, the growth of IT/ITES sector, medical tourism, and other development projects are expected to drive the demand for business hotels in the future.
Demand for office space in Kannur is expected to grow at a brisk pace. The CyberPark initiative, various infrastructure projects, general business investments coming from the NRI groups, in the background of low manpower costs, high literacy and easy availability of talent pool, low attrition rates, low to moderate real estate costs, inexpensive cost of living etc. are expected to attract more IT/ITES companies and other knowledge based industries to Kanuur in the next 3 – 5 years.
Existing IT Activities in Kannur
The Kerala Dinesh Beedi Workers Central Co–op Society, one of the largest Industrial Co-operative Societies in India, established in 1969 has set up the pioneer software park in the district in 1999 under the name of Dinesh Information Technology Systems (DITS). The number of companies in IT sector operating from Kannur is only countable.