Non-resident Keralites’ cell to be revamped: Achuthanandan


Thiruvananthapuram : The Non-Resident Keralites Affairs department (Norka) that looks into the needs of the two million Malayalis settled abroad would be revamped soon, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here Saturday.

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"You all know Norka is the organisation that looks after the affairs of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) and I assure them that it will be revamped and reconstituted soon. Once that is done we will concentrate on their needs," Achuthanandan told reporters on the occasion of his government's first anniversary.

Norka consists of government officials and representatives of NRKs, mostly settled in the Middle East, drawn from various NRK organisations functioning abroad.

"We aim to target their remittances for productive purposes wherein they could invest in projects. That is one of our main agenda," said Achuthanandan.

Remittances from NRKs have now crossed Rs.200 billion annually, of which close to 90 percent comes from Gulf countries.

Achuthanandan said his next major task was to ensure that the Kollam-Kottapuram inland waterways, which have tremendous potential to ferry goods and cargo from north Kerala to the southern parts, would be operational in two months time.

"A retired admiral of the Indian Navy is working on it and I have been told that when it become fully operational, close to one fourth of the vehicular traffic on Kerala roads would come down. And in two years, we are confident that the Kollam-Kovalam waterways will also become operational thereby fully connecting both ends of the state," the chief minister said.

"Construction of the Vizhinjam port and Kannur airport would also begin during the second year of our governance. And the eviction of encroachers that is presently underway in Munnar will soon be extended to other parts of the state. No mercy will be shown to law breakers," he asserted.