Discussions are on to establish a common facility centre for traders

The Tiruchi zone of the Confederation of Indian Industry has drawn up a three-year action plan to revive the ailing artificial gem-cutting industry, which was once a thriving cottage industry in the Tiruchi-Pudukottai region.

Although Tiruchi was once considered capital of artificial gems manufacturing in the country, the industry witnessed a rapid decline since the 1990s after running into stiff competition in terms of quality and price from Chinese products besides facing other problems.

“We have interacted with traders, manufacturers, and labourers in the industry, which had been thriving in the region for several decades. We are working on establishing a common facility centre for the industry. We are planning to work with government agencies in getting necessary support to revive the industry,” said Rani Muralidharan, chairperson, CII, Tiruchi zone. She told presspersons here on Tuesday that the CII was confident that the industry could be revived with necessary support.

Training prisoners

The CII was working towards establishing a full-fledged fabrication unit at the Tiruchi Central Prison where it recently organised a training programme for a group of prisoners in welding, fitting and grinding with the support of the Prisons Department.

“It was part of our corporate social responsibility initiatives and the trainees had even executed an order given to them on a pilot basis,” she said. The CII is now planning to train more prisoners and about 100 persons could be trained every three months.

The CII is now in touch with the public sector major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Tiruchi, seeking its support to give some orders to the trained prisoners. BHEL has promised to look into the possibility and a memorandum of understanding could be signed soon to set up a full-fledged fabrication unit at the Central Prison, she said.

The CII was planning to set up a BPO centre at the prison and Infosys had donated 50 computers.

The Tiruchi zone of the CII would host the agriculture conclave, Agricon, by the middle of this year.

A conference on cement industry was likely to be organised. A women leadership conference will be held in the city on February 26, she said.