Special Correspondent

To set up a special economic zone in TN

Forms a special purpose vehicle

Rs. 900 crore investment planned

CHENNAI: In what is claimed to be the first of its kind initiative in the world, Mumbai-based Kamala Group has teamed up with the Bangalore-based MPPL Renewable Energy Private Ltd. to float a special purpose vehicle to set up a renewable energy special economic zone in Chengalpattu taluka in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.

The special purpose vehicle (SPV) is christened as Future Energy Zone Private Ltd. (FEZ).

Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) will function as the nodal organisation and facilitate the implementation of the project.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard between the State Government and the two promoters of SPV was signed here on Saturday in the presence of the State Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi.

The proposed special economic zone is expected to provide direct jobs to 5,000 people and indirect employment to another 10,000, says a release from the State Government.

Addressing a press conference, K. Krishan, Chairman, MPPL Renewable Energy, said FEZ would see an investment of around Rs. 900 crore, especially in creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment. On top of this, he anticipated an investment of another $500 million to flow into the FEZ through manufacturing activities.

Mr. Krishan said the FEZ would require 215-270 hectares, which would be acquired from the market. Both he and R. B. Lad, Chairman of Kamala Group, did not foresee any hiccup in the land acquisition. To repeated questions, they made it clear that FEZ would acquire only dry land.

The special economic zone would have two components — the manufacturing side and the R&D (research and development) portion.

In this context, Mr. Krishan said FEZ had already opened parleys with leading research institutes across the globe to set up its R&D facilities. He was confident that big MNCs (multi-national companies) making machinery related to renewable energy would set up their production bases in the proposed zone. Mr. Krishan expected the industrial park to attract at least 30-40 companies.

The availability of skills — engineering and IT (information technology), existence of port infrastructure and right climate had all clinched the decision in favour of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Krishan said. Mr. Lad said TEDA would pick up a token one per cent stake in FEZ. It would have the option to raise its stake to 11 per cent, he added.