Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, on Saturday assured industrialists at the Madras Export Processing Zone, a Special Economic Zone, here that their grievances would be looked into and long-pending issues resolved.

At the facility, the Minister visited the premises of IT major Cognizant, Celebrity, a garment manufacturing unit, and Avalon Technologies.

Mr. Sharma said that he was impressed with the units in the SEZ and their efficient administration. A section of representatives from the MEPZ Manufacturers Association briefed the Minister on some of the issues. Mr. Sharma said he would take them up with his colleagues and resolve their grievances.

R.K. Shankar, spokesperson of the association, said the MEPZ – SEZ did not have a permanent Development Commissioner for the past 18 months. Another problem was the shortage of power and it had to be resolved by the State government.

If the Commerce Secretary came to Chennai and had a joint meeting with the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu and the association's representatives, the issues could be addressed.

Mr. Shankar said that because of the shortage of power, the units were even willing to purchase power from private players. They were paying a huge amount as property tax, which needed to be reduced.

Unless the Commerce Ministry and its senior officials took part in a dialogue with the State government, these and other pressing issues could not be resolved.

Mr. Sharma said that he would instruct senior officials in his Ministry to look into their grievances.

M.S. Rao, Development Commissioner (in-charge), was among other officials present.

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