It’s shooing away prospective investors
Even as IT major Syntel’s entry has virtually resurrected Gangaikondan Information Technology Special Economic Zone, the infrastructure-starved AMRL’s Nanguneri Multiproduct SEZ, situated just 40 km away, awaits a similar saviour.
Promoted by the Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu, the Gangaikondan IT SEZ has all basic infrastructure facilities in place, whereas the 10-year-old Nanguneri Multiproduct SEZ, promoted by AMR Group, cries out for basic amenities and is shooing away prospective investors.
Though it was one of the two SEZs first announced in the country -- the other one being in Gujarat – the Nanguneri Multiproduct SEZ, which was planned to provide employment to youth of the region, has a long way to go in fulfilling its objective. Currently, two manufacturing units are struggling to stay up and running on the SEZ premises.
After successfully establishing a high-precision valve manufacturing unit at Mumbai, S.Albert Rayen, Chief Executive of Excel Hydro Pneumatics (India), who hails from Kooththenkuzhi, a coastal village in the district, started his unit on a 2.50-acre plot in the SEZ in August 2010 to create employment opportunities for ‘sons of the soil’. But he regrets his decision now.
"There is no electricity, no proper road connectivity, no broadband connection, no land development, no sewerage facility, no proper security system and no drinking water facility on the SEZ premises, which is supposed to have world-class infrastructure. There are no proper facilities for solid waste management and no bus stop though it is situated on the four-lane national highway. We have to make our own arrangements for bringing the workforce to our unit.
Total darkness engulfs the SEZ premises at night as there is no proper lighting," said Mr. Rayen, whose units at Mumbai and Nanguneri SEZ fabricate high-precision valves and fittings for oil refineries and petrochemical industries.
Though there is a huge demand for these products in the domestic and foreign markets, Mr. Rayen has been forced to curtail the production owing to the acute power shortage.
Another unit at the SEZ, manufacturing jumbo bags, is also struggling mainly because of the power outages which force the manufacturing units to rely on diesel generators.
"In the hope that this SEZ will have the best infrastructure facilities, including uninterrupted power, I purchased 2.50 acres of land here (Rs.25 lakh per acre). But all my expectations have been dashed by the callous attitude of the promoters. An entrepreneur should not be treated like this," Mr. Rayen said.
Vijay T.Shiraguppi, Chief Executive Officer, AMRL Multiproduct Special Economic Zone, told The Hindu from Chennai over phone that power shortage and global recession had hit the development of this business hub. As things have started looking up now, a potential investor had been identified to fund infrastructure development in the SEZ.
"Even as 80 per cent of the work on Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s sub-station has been completed, the TWAD Board has agreed to supply adequate quantity of water.
With plans for funding for the development of other infrastructure on the SEZ premises by a private company having been almost finalised, there will be tremendous improvement in the months to come," said Mr.Shiraguppi.
He is optimistic that the SEZ premises would be provided with proper sewerage, road and lighting facilities once the areas for manufacturing units were allotted. Based on the allocation and the nature of the companies’ products, the infrastructure would be created, he added.