Islamic firm offers to build bridge in Sabarimala

The Shariah-based financial institution, Al Barakah Financial Services, started by the previous government, will set up a Bailey bridge in the famous Hindu pilgrimage centre of Sabarimala.

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The Bailey bridge is a portable, prefabricated truss bridge, which is used to connect banks in an emergency. But it’s sturdy and the pace of assembly does not undermine its stability.

The project was announced by the Al Barakah chairman, Mr Mohammed Al, at a national seminar on Interest-free Institutional mechanism for banking, finance and insurance here on Monday.

The United Democratic Front government had decided to build a Bailey bridge in Sabarimala before the coming Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season to avoid rush and had initially approached the army for help.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, endorsed the previous Left Democratic Front’s initiative in setting up the institution and said he would press the Centre to allow full-fledged Islamic banks in the country to tap the huge reserves available for development projects.

“It took three years for us to evolve a Kerala-specific model for Islamic finance,” said the former finance minister Dr Thomas Isaac. “We need Islamic banking to sustain development and create quality jobs in Kerala.”

The state holds 11 percent stake in Al Barakah while individuals are allowed to invest up to nine percent in the company with a capital base of `1,000 crore.

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