Japan to invest in Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor

In this October 25, 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan in Tokyo. File photo

In this October 25, 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan in Tokyo. File photo   | Photo Credit: Everett Kennedy Brown

“It is preparing a comprehensive integrated master plan for the development of CBIC”

Despite the violence in the Suzuki plant at Manesar in July, the Japanese have no second thoughts about investing in a multi-billion Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC), according to government sources, privy to several rounds of talks between Japanese diplomats and Indian officials on the issue.

“They are going ahead with preparations for a comprehensive integrated master plan for the development of the CBIC, with the progress being regularly reviewed by T.K.A. Nair, Adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” the sources said.

Upswing in ties

It was during a spell of upswing in bilateral ties two years ago that Dr. Singh and the then Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, agreed on the concept of an industrial corridor in south India that would mirror the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor taking shape in northwestern India. The idea was reflected more concretely in a joint statement after last year’s prime Ministerial-level summit meeting — an annual feature now in India-Japan ties — and is due to be reviewed when the Prime Ministers meet for this year’s summit interaction.

However, a cloud was hovering over the project after the July 18 violence at the Suzuki plant in which one official of the Human Resource Department was killed. The response from Japanese diplomats during meetings with Indian government officials was positive in the sense they were satisfied with the State government’s handling of the issue and were convinced the violence was an aberration, said the sources.

The idea has generated considerable enthusiasm in the South India. Andhra Pradesh has sought to be included in the project and sought the CBIC’s extension to the Krishnapatnam port. Karnataka wants the corridor to be extended to Chitradurga and the State government has already commissioned a pre-feasibility study to set up a manufacturing city between Chitradurga and Tumkur.

Although South India has become the hub of Information Technology and automotive sectors besides other industries, the sources said the Prime Minister was keen to put an ambitious project in the pipeline so that it could be operational after a decade. The plan currently includes a dedicated rail freight corridor besides solutions to address the private sector’s complaint of bad roads, poor access to ports and frequent blackouts.

The key projects will include Phase II of the Chennai Outer Ring Road and the Chennai-Bangalore Expressway, the upgrade of airports in Chennai, Bangalore and Sriperumbudur and ports in Chennai and Ennore, a high-speed rail between Chennai and Bangalore and the Avadi rail link.

PMO’s role

The Prime Minister’s Office will be involved in pushing through reforms in “soft infrastructure” such as the cumbersome customs procedures, limited use of IT and automation and imposition of Central Sales Tax.

With the renewed Japanese vote of confidence in the Indian industry, the stage is now set for stakeholder interaction. Many big Japanese names such as NYK Logistics, Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsui, Honda, Toyota, Canon, Komatsu, Sharp, NTT and Santen have been identified and their inputs will form a critical part of the terms of reference of the master plan, whose lead agency is likely to be announced by the time the Prime Ministers meet later this year.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 7:09:06 PM |

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