Industrial units at the Tamil Nadu Leather Development Corporation (TALCO) Leather Industrial Estate in Madhavaram, have a difficult time functioning, thanks to poor infrastructure – bad roads, no water supply and no sewage network.

Established in 1962, the estate began with 16 leather industries and is now home to 36 industries – both leather and allied units. About 5,000 persons are employed there.

Members of the TALCO Estate Manufacturers Association, said the estate has been neglected for several years, and lacked even the most basic of amenities. “The estate has nine roads and none have been laid in years. The main road is in shambles. Rains inundate the entire estate, causing employees severe inconveniences,” said N. Theagrajan, president of the association.

Members also said they had to regularly fill the many potholes with sand and gravel to make the roads at least partly motorable.

This apart, the estate lacks water supply, streetlights, toilets and a sewage network. Also, there are several stray dogs and pigs on the premises. “The estate plunges into darkness at night. As a result, we cannot prevent the entry of anti-social elements inside. Following several problems, each factory has now installed a streetlight,” Mr. Theagrajan said.

To cater to water requirements, the association has set up five tanks, N. Seethuraman, the association’s vice-president said.

R. Thirumurthy, who joined a factory at the estate in 1967 and retired in 2005, said the estate was well-maintained when it was managed by SIDCO. “There were administrative officers, sweepers and watchmen. TALCO took over the estate in the early 1970s. Since then, there has been zero maintenance,” he said.

A committee set up in 2000 said maintenance of the estate could be handed over to the association. “But this has not been worked out as yet. We are ready to take it up,” Mr. Theagrajan said.

Officials of the district industries centre, Tiruvallur, clarified that the estate had been handed over to the industries department after TALCO had become defunct. “We have approached the Chennai Corporation to take up maintenance of the estate. The formalities are being worked out,” an official said.

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