Industrial estates' infrastructure upgradation plan to exceed budget

Priscilla Jebaraj

Rising input costs and delays are the contributory factors

75 per cent of budget comes from Centre, 10 per cent from State; unit owners contribute the restAmbattur Industrial Estate urgently needs money to repair roads, desilt stormwater drains

CHENNAI: The infrastructure development programme in industrial estates at Ambattur, Thirumudivakkam and Thirumazhisai is likely to exceed its budget.

G. Krishnan, director of the Chennai Auto Ancillary Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Company (CAAIIUC), that is implementing the scheme, says rising input costs and road laying rates mean the final expenditure will be 10-15 per cent higher than the Rs. 47.2-crore budget.

Delays are also pushing up costs. The upgradation of sewerage and water supply lines were to be completed next month. But problems related to previously laid electrical, communication and sewer lines has pushed the date to early next year.

Under the scheme, 75 per cent of the budget comes from the Centre and 10 per cent from the State. The unit owners contributed the rest. In Ambattur, Rs. 7,500 per acre has been collected from the unit owners. "If necessary, we will have to raise more," says Mr. Krishnan. Otherwise, CAAIIUC will have to seek loans from financial institutions.

There is also a more immediate financial crunch. Ambattur Industrial Estate urgently needs money to repair roads and desilt stormwater drains. Under the upgradation scheme, roadwork will not begin till the first week of October and will take a year to complete.

On Thursday, Shanthini Kapoor, who took over as Managing Director of Ambattur's controlling body, the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation (TANSIDCO), last week visited the estate.

Desilting work

She said the Public Works Department had taken up the desilting work and assured unit owers that her "number one priority is to tide over this monsoon." She said TANSIDCO has handed over the responsibility of maintenance to the CAAIIUC, which is "flush with funds." The CAAIIUC says its money is meant for upgradation, not maintenance.

TANSIDCO has been collecting Rs.10,000 per acre as annual maintenance fee but has done very little, says CAAIIUC director P.G. Wadhwani. "Now they have asked us to collect the fee and do the maintenance. I cannot collect overnight, but the money has to be spent overnight."

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