Special Correspondent

MADURAI: The Madurai zonal council of Confederation of Indian Industry plans to provide training in specific job-oriented skills for 1,500 students in southern districts during the current year.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, the new zonal chairman R. Dinesh said that as a special initiative, the CII would closely work with local companies to know about their requirements and also with educational institutions to train the faculty members. To start with, TVS Logistics planned to set up a training school for forklift truck drivers. It was estimated that 1,200 such drivers would be required by the industry.

Potential is there

He said that south Tamil Nadu had good potential for development as it had registered a 364 per cent growth in contribution to the State’s gross domestic product in the last decade. From Rs 0.3 lakh crore in 1997, the south’s contribution to Tamil Nadu’s GDP stood at Rs 2.5 lakh crore in 2007. The contribution to gross services and domestic product stood at Rs 2.1 lakh crore in 2007, against Rs. 0.4 lakh crore in 1997.

The tourist flow also registered an increase of 150 per cent, from 3.8 lakh visitors in 1997 to 10 lakh in 2007. There was good potential for medical tourism in the region and in 2007, 1,900 persons came from outside India for medical treatment to Madurai. Efforts would be made to double this number this year.

‘Advantage south TN’

The zone, Mr. Dinesh said, would have ‘Advantage South Tamil Nadu’ as its theme this year. Getting international air connectivity for Madurai would be among the zone’s top priorities and it would play a catalyst role in promoting successful entrepreneurs from south Tamil Nadu. It would organise 10 industry-specific conferences, 45 training programmes, five industrial missions, of which one would be a visit to a foreign country, and 10 interactive sessions with various government departments during the year.

On the tourism front, it would work towards having a permanent show for tourists to showcase the region’s culture and tradition and initiate discussions with airline operators to provide international connectivity to Madurai.

The vice-chairman, K. S. Bharath, said that the CII would focus on places such as Sivakasi, Rajapalayam and Theni to include more members from the fireworks, printing and textile industries.