The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TNCCI) has urged the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri to prevail upon the Centre as well as the State Government to introduce metro rail here.

Speaking at the 85th anniversary celebrations of TNCCI here on Saturday, its senior president S. Rethinavelu said that over 15 lakh people residing in Madurai were in need of metro rail to ensure safe, reliable and comfortable travel.

The TNCCI also requested the Minister to take steps to allot 15 acres of government land here for the construction of a trade centre. "We are ready to bear the cost of construction with air-conditioning facilities," the senior president said.

He also wanted to lift the ban on traders to sell Diammonium Phosphate (DAP). "Tamil Nadu is the only state to impose the ban. The cooperative societies as well as private traders should be allowed to sell the fertilizer," he added.

In his keynote address, Mr. Alagiri promised that all demands put forth by the trade body would be considered. He said that the matter related to allotment of land for a trade centre would be taken up with the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Stating that he would continue to work for the development of Madurai, the Minister disclosed that he had already spoken to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on expanding the domestic airport here into an international terminal.

"Around 25 acres out of 54 acres belonging to a defunct cooperative textile mill in Melur will be given to TAMIN (Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited) for setting up a granite polishing industry. An official announcement will be made in a day or two," he said.

Inauguration of a large Business Process Outsourcing unit here and revival of Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation (SPIC) unit in Tuticorin were among measures taken to ensure job opportunities to thousands of people, he added.

The Minister also said that he had suggested to the Municipal Corporation to introduce a light and sound show at Pudhu Mandapam here after shifting the shop keepers to a new building in Kunnathur Chathiram. Rs. 20 crore had been allotted for the purpose.

Mr. Alagiri said that he had already inspected many places in Madurai for building modern public toilets. They would come up at Tirupparankundram, Thirumangalam, Vadipatti and Usilampatti areas besides the city limits.

S. Jeyabalan, outgoing President of TNCCI, thanked the office-bearers, members and employees of the Chamber for supporting him for the last one year in implementing many welfare programmes. Secretary N. Jegatheesan also spoke.

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