The first of its kind in South Tamil Nadu, it will supply equipment to BHEL and other power machinery makers

Madurai is on track to host a cluster of engineering industries, the first of its kind in South Tamil Nadu.

K. Ramachandran, chairman of Madurai Engineering Cluster Private Limited, told The Hindu that nearly 55 acres of land had been acquired for the purpose.

He expected the units to be up and running within six months.

They will supply equipment to BHEL and other power machinery makers.

The proposal was first mooted at a buyer-seller meet organised by MADITTSIA in 2009. The meet was attended by officials from BHEL.

However, there were roadblocks along the way.

“We faced difficulties in acquiring the land. The land classification process is over and we will soon submit our plan to the District Industries Centre for approval. By six months the engineering industries will start functioning and will be promoted by MADITTSIA”, Mr Ramachandran confirmed. The industrialists forming the cluster are, according to him, “likeminded people who congregated to transform Madurai into an industrial hub.”

“At least 20 medium scale industries and 25 smaller industries will be a part of the cluster, which will supply equipment to BHEL, F.L. Smith, Cethar Vessels, Tech Pro and L & T. These companies have already evinced interest to have a tie up with us”, he pointed out. The smaller industries will be sub-contracted by the medium scale industries, he added.

K. P. Murugan, joint managing director of Madurai Engineering Cluster Private Limited, said the industrial cluster is likely to have a common facility centre to test materials.

“The engineering cluster will boost employment opportunities for ITI students and diploma holders in Madurai. We plan to start a welding training institute and an ITI”, he said.

“The cluster will change the face of Madurai. So far, such equipment has been supplied by manufacturing units in Chennai and Tiruchi”, said Mr Ramachandran.

But the industrialists are concerned about power availability, which could deter their efforts. “Each industrial unit would require between 70 and 100 Hp electricity. If the power crisis continues, we will have to depend on generators for a chunk of the work and may not be able to compete with well established industries in Tiruchi”, he noted.

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