Much has been said about balanced industrialisation across the State, but this has been more of empty talk with little work happening on the ground.
The lone and half-built cattle feed production unit in the vast industrial estate developed by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB), near Sanda village in Shikaripur taluk, seems to symbolise this.
To attract industries to Shikaripur taluk, which was identified as backward by the D. Nanjundappa committee on redressal of regional imbalances, the State government decided to develop the industrial estate in Sanda.
This was an ambitious project of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
The Rs. 5-crore project began in 2010 and the estate was ready for occupancy by early 2012.
The KIADB acquired 208 acres of land, of which 30 acres was allotted to the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) for the cattle feed unit, which is expected to become operational shortly.
However, the larger expectation that it would attract big food processing units — considering that the region is known for cultivation of paddy, maize, mango, ginger and arecanut crops of fine quality — has been belied.
In the first phase of the project, the KIADB developed 48 plots on 63.48 acres of land. Roads and drainage facilities have been provided here. An electricity transmission substation has been established to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
However, during the Global Investors Meet (GIM) in Bangalore in 2012, there was no positive response from entrepreneurs to set up food processing and agro-based industries in Sanda.
A Gujarat-based food processing company, which evinced interest last year to set up a manufacturing unit in Sanda, backtracked citing lack of proper connectivity.
At present, Sanda, which is 75 km from Shimoga, is connected only by road.
A reputed plywood company showed interest in establishing a production unit here a few months ago but withdrew citing water shortage.
During summer, water in the Kumudvathi that flows near Sanda dries up, and lifting underground water becomes a necessity.
As efforts to woo big entrepreneurs have failed, the Department of Commerce and Industries is now inviting foundry, alloy and metal-casting industry owners in the Machenahalli industrial estate, near Shimoga, who have plans for expansion to set up their units in Sanda.
The KIADB is planning to form 60 ft x 40 ft plots in the area and allot them to local entrepreneurs who want to set up small-scale units.