1.41-acre estate expected to solve land crunch

The small-scale industries sector in the city, beleaguered by the lack of land, is being offered a bit of breathing space in the form of an industrial development area, which will comprise a multi-storey industrial estate with necessary facilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The industrial estate, to come up on a 1.41-acre plot at Kochuveli, not far from the existing industrial belt there, will have a built-up area of 40,000 sq ft, and is expected to accommodate at least 50 small-scale units. To operate under the aegis of the District Industries Centre (DIC), construction of the estate by the Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) will begin shortly.

“We are expecting the work to be over in 18 months, after which entrepreneurs can take the space according to their requirement on long-lease basis. Infrastructure, including material handling facilities (industrial lifts etc.) and dedicated power supply, will be offered,” R. Ramesh Chandran, Joint Director, Industries and Commerce, and General Manager, DIC, told The Hindu.

Central grant

The Centrally sponsored project, which has already been sanctioned a onetime additional Central assistance of Rs.10 crore, was thought of primarily because of the shortage of land for small-scale industries in the State capital. The estate, Mr. Chandran said, would be ideal for entrepreneurs dealing in IT and IT-enabled services, garments and textiles, food processing, and value-added products and light engineering setups.

The happenings in the SME sector in Thiruvananthapuram in the 2012-13 financial year were another major inspiration for the project. The year saw 2,874 entrepreneurs taking Part 1 registration, which is the expression of interest to the DIC to set up an entrepreneurial unit. This was the highest in the State, while the year saw 1,483 units taking the next step and actually setting up shop. This, according to Mr. Chandran, was the second highest in the State.

Food processing and value-added food product manufacturing units comprised most of the units, while readymade garments and textiles were next. IT and ITES, furniture, and chemical products (mostly soap) manufacturing units along with fabrication and other light engineering set-ups too figured among the 1,483 units.

“We saw investments worth Rs.188 crore in the SME sector in Thiruvananthapuram in 2012-13, while the number of job opportunities created was 9,372. To encourage SMEs, the DIC arranged investment subsidies worth Rs.1.13 crore for 60 ventures. As per the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), a margin money grant of Rs.101.51 lakh was given to 90 entrepreneurs,” he added.