Andhra Pradesh

Sailing in troubled waters

MSME sector in Chittoor district is facing lack of coordination among departments and outdated technology

The MSME sector in tail-end Chittoor district is facing difficult times thanks to outdated technology, poor marketing and lack of coordination among entrepreneurs, nodal agencies and central laboratories.

Chittoor district is blessed with rich mineral wealth, and has a good scope for food processing industries. Flanked on either side by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the district is a haven for about 3,600 registered MSMEs with a turnover of ₹6500 crore, in addition to hundreds of unregistered units and artisan workforce from the unorganised sector.

Interestingly, the MSMEs present a unique phenomenon in Chittoor district, with the concentration of similar industrial units in one particular area. For instance, a vast majority of the powerloom sector is concentrated in Puttur and its adjoining Nagari municipalites. Coming to the mango canning and packaging units, their concentration is in and around Chittoor. The tamarind processing units are located in Punganur.

The predominant granite and stone crushing industry is almost confined to a few mandals surrounding Chittoor district headquarters, followed by an equally dominant stretch in faraway Kuppam.

The presence of different categories of artisans is also unique to their location, such as terracota in Palamaner, Kalamkari in Srikalahasti, and silk reeling in Madanapalle. According to official estimates, there are 345 granite cutting and polishing units, 143 stone crushing units, 83 milk chilling units, and 1,500 automobile service units among others, such as cold storage, paper, poultry feed, and handloom units.

Real estate slump

Members of the Granite Industries Association decried that 70% of their plants are on the verge of closure due to heavy royalties and regional fluctuations in prices. This sector, which ruled the roost in Chittoor, is said have fallen prey to political dabbling. A slump in the construction sector all over the South, coupled with shortage of sand, has also thrown the sector into turmoil.

Coming to mango cultivation, farmers are going through a tough time for the last five years due to low and delayed yields marred by adverse climatic conditions. The processing units, except for caning purposes, have nothing to do with the product, while the mango growers are far removed from the latest technologies and utilities and marketing strategies.

No skill upgradation

The MSMEs are patronised by their respective departments and the entrepreneurs deplore that there is no coordination among the allied wings. For the last five years, no seminars or symposiums have been held for entrepreneurs by national research laboratories such as CFTRI or CLRI, nor was any study tour organised for the MSMEs.

Almost half of the posts are vacant at industrial estates at Gajulamandyam, Madanapalle, Kuppam, Srikalahasti and Palamaner. There are allegations that some influential members in the MSMEs are misusing land allotments for real estate deals.

Assistant director (District Industries Centre - Chittoor) C. Suri Babu said that the MSMEs are capable of generating thousands of jobs compared to major industries. He said that the MSMEs should constantly update their knowledge and skills prevailing trends in various sectors and be ready to adapt to latest technologies. The central research institutes could work wonders with their active participation in the MSMEs, Mr. Suri Babu said.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 6:57:26 PM |

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