Clusters can help SSIs face competition: Minister

COPING WITH CHALLENGES: Elamaram Karim, Minister for Industries, speaks at the inauguration of United Furniture Manufacturers' Consortium Private Limited in Kochi on Thursday. Photo: VipinChandran  

Staff Reporter

Furniture consortium launched

KOCHI: Minister for Industries Elamaram Karim has said that concepts like that of clusters can help small industrial units cope with the challenges posed by globalisation.

Coming together of entrepreneurs can help cut cost and evolve common marketing strategies, said the Minister who launched the United Furniture Manufacturers' Consortium Private Limited here on Thursday. He said that although globalisation was being opposed it had become a reality and industries had to face up to the challenge.

The furniture cluster is the first of such kind in Kerala and is being promoted by All Kerala Furniture Manufacturers' and Distributors' Association. A total of Rs.20 crores is expected to be invested in a Common Facility Centre at Perumbavoor that will cater to the requirements of furniture manufacturers and distributors all over the State.

The money will be invested over a period of four to five years with Rs.5 crores being invested in the first phase.

The diagnostic and feasibility studies are nearly ready, said a spokesman for the consortium on Thursday. He said the reports would be submitted to the Government soon. B. Prasannakumar, General Manager, Ernakulam District Industries Centre, presided at the inauguration. S. Santhosh, Deputy General Manager, Kerala Bureau of Industrial Promotion (KBiP); John Mathai, Assistant Director of Small Industries Service Institute, Thrissur; Sunil Narayanankutty of the Cochin University of Science and Technology; K. Sathyanandan, Deputy General Manager, Small Industries Bank of India (SIDBI) and K. A. Varghese, Chief Manager, Federal Bank; and E. Ramdas, Chairman of the Furniture Cluster were among those who spoke at the inauguration.