Tamil Nadu

Major issues remain unresolved in Nanguneri

A view of Nanguneri Special Economic Zone.

A view of Nanguneri Special Economic Zone.  

DMK and AIADMK blame each other for ‘failures’.

The Nanguneri Special Economic Zone, which could have provided jobs to thousands of skilled and unskilled persons, has once again become a theme of blame game between the AIADMK and the DMK.

While both parties that failed to take this project to greater heights during their tenure put the blame on each other for the failure, the voters keep their fingers crossed.

With very few months left for the next Assembly polls, 2,56,414 voters are going to elect one among the 23 candidates including realtor V. Narayanan of the AIADMK, builder ‘Ruby’ R. Manoharan of the Congress and Rajanarayanan of the Naam Thamizhar Katchi in the fray.

Though most of their minor grievances like drinking water supply, connecting roads, increased bus service, primary health centre have been addressed to some extent by then MLA H. Vasanthakumar, major issues like Nanguneri SEZ, Tamirabharani – Karumaeniyar – Nambiyar linking project, cold storage facility at Kalakkad to store banana remain unresolved.

When the DMK government laid the foundation stone for the SEZ at Nanguneri in March 2001 with much fanfare that it would be the panacea for unemployment problem which indirectly creates caste clashes in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, everyone believed that an industrial revolution is going to happen. As the AIADMK returned to power in May 2001, the project was put in cold storage.

Unfortunately, the DMK, which was launching an attack on Jayalalithaa for having dumped the SEZ as long as she was in power till 2006, did not do anything till 2011 to revive it though it made a come back in the 2006 Assembly polls.

Even as the blame game continued, another SEZ launched in Ahmedabad along with Nanguneri project had become a full-blown campus to provide employment to over a lakh youths and started exporting its products.

Banana is a major production in this agrarian constituency. It is being auctioned at Sirumalanji on every Thursday and sent to various parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Though it is one of the biggest banana market in the State, there is no cold storage facility and no step has been taken to create value addition industries here. Consequently, banana growers are forced to sell their produce at the prevailing price on the day of harvest.

The electorate, who reposed their faith in Mr. Vasanthakumar in 2016 Assembly polls, have good opinion about him even after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kanniyakumari constituency.

“He removed the thorny acacia in several areas when it was done as a movement across the State and desilted a good number of irrigation tanks and channels. He purchased an earthmover at a cost of ₹ 29 lakh and bore the operational expenditure and maintenance costs.

The tuition centres he conducted in the villages with the help of educated but unemployed youths in rural areas were helpful to poor children.

He is also paying tuition fee for a good number of meritorious students of Nanguneri constituency pursuing their higher studies in engineering and arts and science colleges. He was a good MLA,” certifies Tamil Nadu Vivasaayigal Sangam P. Perumbadaiyar of Thirukkurungudi.

While the Congress believes that the good work of Mr. Vasanthakumar and DMK’s backing would work in favour of Mr. Manoharan this time, the ruling AIADMK leaves no stone unturned to wrest the segment from the Congress by ensuring the victory of Mr. Narayanan by deploying more than 10 ministers, a good number of MLAs and party office-bearers in the constituency.

Consequently, electorate of this backward segment have the opportunity to take a close look at the flashing high-end vehicles of these VIPs and self-styled leaders criss-cross their villages.

“All these vehicles with their bosses will leave the rural areas on October 19 as campaign ends. But none knows if miseries of voters will come to an end with the election of new MLA or will continue as usual,” Mr. Perumbadaiyar says.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 6:19:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/major-issues-remain-unresolved-in-nanguneri/article29728652.ece

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