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Old February 14th, 2005, 10:01 PM   #1
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Tamil Nadu - Projects and Development I

here in this thread we will share about Tamil Nadu's economy and infrastructure updates...
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Old February 14th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #2
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A satellite town for Bangalore in the making : HOSUR


Consider this picture. Businessmen from Bangalore travelling to Hosur in Tamil Nadu from the Karnataka city’s suburbs near Electronic City, Bangalore’s hub of IT (information technology) activity (which houses companies like Infosys and Wipro), just like Delhiites commute to Gurgaon or Mumbakars to Navi Mumbai.

Hosur is a mere 30 km away from Electronic City and the Tamil Nadu government wants to make the industrial township a giant satellite town like Gurgaon or Noida.

The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) will commission a study shortly along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on how Hosur can be transformed into an information technology and IT- enabled services centre.

“The study will assess the socio-economic and technological potential of Hosur as an IT destination. It will be done by one of the top five consultants and will be completed in three to six months,” says Vivek Harinarain, IT secretary, government of Tamil Nadu.

Hosur, he says, has been chosen as it can dovetail the strengths of Bangalore’s deep talent pool and salubrious climate with Tamil Nadu’s infrastructural forte and relatively inexpensive real-estate rates.

Making Hosur an IT hub, however, will be a tough task. In 2003-04, when Tamil Nadu exported Rs 7,643 crore worth of software, Hosur’s contribution was zilch. Tamil Nadu is keen on changing this.

“We will consider building a 250,000 sq ft facility, on the lines of TIDEL Park in Chennai, at a cost of between Rs 35 crore and Rs 50 crore. This initiative, we hope, will create a light-house effect and boost investor confidence,” Harinarain says.

He says the Tamil Nadu government is likely to use a private-public partnership to upgrade Hosur’s present infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and shopping malls, to build Hosur into a viable satellite town.

The state government will provide all supporting infrastructural requirements such as land, sewerage, electricity and water.

The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) plans on setting up a park at Hosur. The Union mMnistry of IT and Communications has asked the Tamil Nadu government to allot land for the building.

“With a TIDEL-type park, Hosur is a very viable idea. Lots of residential complexes will be thrown in between Hosur and Bangalore. Travel time is faster outside Bangalore to Hosur rather than within the city,” says K Pandia Rajan, managing director, Ma Foi Management Consultants Limited, the recruitment agency.

Yet the Tamil Nadu government will have to invest in improving the quality of people in the districts closest to Hosur. “There is a need for investment in schools and colleges in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri to develop human capital ,” Pandia Rajan points out.

It is not as if Hosur doesn’t have anything other than its proximity to Bangalore going for it.

It has been an industrial hub for more than two decades now and home to the manufacturing plants of Ashok Leyland, Titan Industries, T.T. Prestige, Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Lever, Carborandum Universal and TVS Motors. So, the basic infrastructure is firmly in place.

“Hosur’s potential to become a prime outlying suburb of Bangalore, on the lines of Noida and Gurgaon for Delhi and Navi Mumbai for Mumbai, has been largely underutilised. This is primarily due to the lack of adequate connectivity with Bangalore,” notes Shivaram Malakala, executive director, Habitat Ventures.

IT majors such Infosys and Wipro are just a stone’s throw away in Electronics City which is midway between Bangalore and Hosur.

These companies would be wary of setting up operations in Hosur as they are already battling the Karnataka government over the lack of proper roads to Electronic City from Bangalore. If anything can stop Hosur’s advances to becoming a IT super city, it will be poor road links.

Wipro and Infosys are already pushing a proposal for an elevated high-speed corridor between Electronic City and Bangalore. “Work on the Rs 400 crore, six-lane expressway will begin in April with a deadline of 18 months to complete the project,” K H Muniyappa, Union minister of state for road transport and highways, said early this year.

The IT industry has committed Rs 100 crore to the project and Karnataka will contribute Rs 100 crore, with the rest being invested by the National Highways Authority of India.

The initiative to develop the roads between Electronic City and Hosur will have to be taken up by the Karnataka state government, but it has no reason as of now to kickstart the process.

“The road to Hosur from Electronic City does not have a lot of traffic pressure as of now and both governments may work together to improve road connectivity,” says Sudeep Jain, managing director of ELCOT.

Also, Hosur’s residents are unlikely to shop in Bangalore. “Residents of Hosur might have to pay commercial taxes if they make purchases from stores in Bangalore. In Delhi, cross-border taxes are slowly being phased out,” adds Shivaram.

The Tamil Nadu government does not think this is a major roadblock because it believes that the roll out of the value added tax in April will solve this problem.

However, real estate prices are 25-30 per cent lower in Hosur than in the areas of Bangalore closest to Hosur. What do the software companies think of Hosur?

“We are not considering Bangalore or Hosur as of now. But assuming that we were, the primary concerns would be travel time, overheads and the cost of attracting talent,” says Arun Jain, chairman and CEO, Polaris Software Lab.

He adds that Hosur as an IT destination will be viable only if a company is considering setting up a 5,000 to 10,000 personnel organisation. “Setting up operations in Hosur might prove counter-productive if travel times are extended,” Jain remarks.

“Twenty-year tax incentives, subsidised land-registration charges and the creation of a special economic zone would help us invest in Hosur,” says an official at an IT major, who heads its Tamil Nadu operations. The proposed airport in the northern part of Bangalore will further challenge Hosur’s prospects of attracting industrial and employment generating industries.

So if Hosur is to become a hub of technology companies and industrial activities, it will need good infrastructure and road links to Bangalore.

In the long run, it is also Bangalore’s interests to assist in the development of Hosur as one of its satellite towns. This will only pave its way to becoming a true megapolis.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 05:37 PM   #3
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Tirupur: India's Textile Valley

George Iype in Tirupur | February 15, 2005

Quota-based curbs for textile exports to the United States and European nations were lifted on January 1, 2005.

With the restrictions off and globalisation in full swing, the Indian industry is now exposed to global competition. Indian manufacturers and exporters now have to compete with the global players and also face emerging tariff and non-tariff barriers.

So what will the manufacturers and exporters have to do? With its speed of operation, skill, quality and low-cost labour, the industry is now gearing up for the quota-free regime.

rediff.com brings to you the third part of this special series on what the lifting of quota restrictions means to the Indian textile industry.


If Bangalore can be India's Silicon Valley, Tirupur can be our Textile Valley," points out K Palaniraman, a garment manufacturer in India's textiles hot-spot in Tamil Nadu.

There is robust logic in Palaniraman's argument. Manufacturers like him believe that just like the technology boom that swept across cities like Bangalore in the last decade, there will be a textiles boom in India in the coming years following the dismantling of the Multi-Fibre Agreement on international textiles trade.

Palaniraman has seen Tirupur's growth over the years. In the beginning, in the 1970s, he recalls, he operated from a one-room shed and did the knitting himself. Today, he employs dozens of workers and has imported machinery for the knitting and dyeing jobs.

Palaniraman is all geared up to meet the new challenge: produce the best quality technical textiles for a global marketplace.

Like him, garment exporters in Tirupur are all resurgent.

Look at some facts on Tirupur's garment industry:

Tirupur is one of the largest foreign exchange earning towns in India. Last year, the export turnover from the town was more than Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion). There are some 7,000 garment units in the town that provides employment opportunity to close to one million people.
The first spot of any international buyer for Indian garments is Tirupur. Buyers from 35 countries frequently visit Tirupur. Tirupur can deliver customised samples in less than 12 hours; half a million pieces in a matter of days.
Fifty-six per cent of India's total knitwear exports come from Tirupur. The Export Import Policy of 2002-2007 makes laudable tribute to Tirupur for its contribution to the export efforts and calls it a 'Town of Export Excellence.'
According to, A Sakthivel, President, Tirupur Exporters Association, the first hosiery factory with hand-operated machines was set up in Tirupur in 1935.

"For more than 30 years, garment manufacturers in the town were producing mainly grey and bleached banians (vests)," he says.

It was in the late 1960s that the industry slowly diversified into manufacturing other inner garments, including banians and underwears, consumed largely by the domestic market.

"But Tirupur's fortunes took a dramatic turn in the late 1970s when we began exporting our items," says Sakthivel.

He recalls it all began when some exporters in Mumbai introduced an Italian, Antony Verona, to Tirupur. "Verona began importing woven garments from Tirupur and he introduced more Italian businessmen into trade with Tirupur," he says.

Sakthivel says these days there is no competitor to Tirupur in the garments industry in India.

But there is a darker side to Tirupur. Amidst the prosperity that has befallen this textile town, many ills afflict it. These include potholed roads, acute shortage of water, environmental pollution and virtually non-existent sewage systems.

The discharge of salts in effluent from the dyeing factories in Tirupur has led to large-scale environmental degradation.

Environmentalist P K Sundaran says the huge textiles manufacturing is concentrated in a small geographical area in Tirupur that it has exerted extreme pressure on natural resources.

"The groundwater and soil fertility levels in Tirupur are very low. The textiles industry has progressed here at the cost of the environment," Sundaran points out.

The Save Water Forum Sundaram heads has conducted a study that says the level of Total Dissolved Solids in the groundwater has gone up to 5,000 to 6,000 milligrams per litre.

The water scarcity is so acute in the town that water for dyeing units is fetched in tankers from as far as 20 kilometres by the garment units.

But Sakthivel says the water problem is one serious issue that the industry needs to get solved quickly. A water supply project to make good quality water available for wet processing has already has taken shape in public-private partnership.

The New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd is implementing this project.

It is not just water scarcity alone that worries Tirupur's garment makers.

Some of them say although quota restrictions have been dismantled, domestic textile players continue to be caught in archaic Indian government regulations.

Consider this: Under the 'Handloom Reservation Order,' that the government has issued, production of 11 items including non-terry towels and varieties of bed sheets has been reserved exclusively for the handloom sector. A regular garment maker cannot produce and sell these items, which they say has huge export potential.

There is also the 'Hank Yarn Obligation Order' from the government which stipulates that 40 per cent of the cotton yarn produced by every garment unit in the country has to be in hank form for use by the handloom sector.

"But the real problem that the government does not understand is that there is no market for the hank yarn," says an exporter.

According to textile industry estimates, the unsold hank yarn stock currently stands at about 18 million kg
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Old February 16th, 2005, 01:44 AM   #4
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Coimbatore is shedding its conservative image and taking competition head on in its effort to come on top in the globalised environment.

THE mood is palpably upbeat in Coimbatore. The end of the textiles quota regime under the Multi-Fibre Agreement, the promise shown by the Information Technology (IT) sector, the growth that most companies posted last year, rising exports, the jump in the number of BPO (business process outsourcing) centres, and the real estate boom, all signal the end of a recessionary spell that had kept Coimbatore shackled for much of the 1990s.

Most important, the textile industry, which has been at the core of Coimbatore's industrial scene, is picking up the threads; stocks of most textile companies are on the rise as much because of fundamentals as the bull run in the stock market. The boom is not restricted to textiles alone. A European team that came shopping to India early in 2003 had identified over 80 manufacturers of Coimbatore - the highest number from a single city - for sourcing valves, pumpsets and automobile components.

Coimbatore has well proved that it can take on competition, domestic or international; it earned over Rs.10,000 crores in exports last year. The volume of software exports from Coimbatore more than doubled.

A recent study of the top 36 Indian cities done for the Confederation of Indian Industry by Bibek Debroy, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, and Laveesh Bhandari of the research firm Indicus Analytics, ranked Coimbatore fourth in growth potential after Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh, and ahead of Bangalore (fifth), Chennai (sixth) and Hyderabad (ninth). (The study looked at professional education, private finance, communication, road transport, tourism - business and leisure - and relative growth.)

Another recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the feasibility of setting up an IT park in Coimbatore pointed to the city as one to be watched. According to the study, the total volume of trade in automotive components, textiles, pumpsets and other products exceeded Rs.16,000 crores annually. Most of the products find their way to the United States, Europe, and East, South-East and West Asia.

Coimbatore supplies over 30 per cent of all the automotive components used in the country; many international auto majors also source from the city. The city makes over 60 per cent of the water pumps and 45 per cent of the motors used in India. According to the Coimbatore-based Southern India Engineering Manufacturers Association (SIEMA), Coimbatore's 400 foundries have a combined turnover of Rs.1,000-1,200 crores. Its engineering units registered a 15 per cent increase in turnover in 2003-2004 and their exports, which rose by 21 per cent, have crossed Rs.1,400 crores.

Coimbatore district, with an excellent academic infrastructure that churns out over 20,000 engineering and 28,000 non-engineering graduates every year, is poised to emerge as one of the largest suppliers of human resource by 2008. Over 40 per cent of the industrial units in Coimbatore have their own captive power-generating units. The city's teledensity (telephones per 1,000 people) of 150 is one of the highest in the country.

At a spinning unit in Coimbatore.

According to N. Krishna Samaraj and Nandini Rangaswamy, Chairman and Vice-Chairperson respectively of CII, the organisation has decided to push six sectors - textiles, engineering, auto components, IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES), health care and education - in which Coimbatore shows great potential. The CII's involvement is two-fold - helping industries build internal competencies in areas such as cost management, training and human resource development, and interacting with government agencies on issues such as policies and infrastructure development. Separate panels have been constituted to deal with different segments of industry and service activities.

According to Coimbatore Management Association (CMA) president P.M. Jagatheesan, the region is fast emerging as the knowledge hub with 25 business schools. The three sectors that are growing at breakneck speed are auto components, IT and medicare. Coimbatore is also showcasing its medical tourism potential, what with major surgical operations costing nearly 40 per cent less than in Chennai. The CMA is also trying to market Coimbatore as a "place to work". With the State government giving the nod for an IT park, Coimbatore is all set for a galloping growth. The auto component sector is growing annually at 200 per cent and the textile sector are all set to grow with the disbanding of the MFA. According to Jagatheesan, the inherent strength of Coimbatore is the three generations of work culture, which is ready to make the most of globalisation.

But the crucial question is whether the euphoria generated by globalisation can be sustained. Suguna Pumps managing director V. Lakshminarayanaswamy says that the global market offers an excellent opportunity despite the threat of cheaper and more sophisticated products coming into the Indian market. Coimbatore now offers a huge product range from which manufacturers should find a niche product for themselves and build on that. This, he feels, will increase efficiency and lower costs owing to the volumes involved.

According to Pricol's Col. A.N. Ramesh, Coimbatore is showing strong signals of revival, if one were to go by the orders flooding all industries - automobile components, textile machinery, pumps and foundries - and the hectic construction activity. "With heavy reinvestment, the excellent brand equity of Coimbatore products, the increasing professionalism and the effort to be contemporary, Coimbatore's industries are going great guns," he says.

Says Roots Industries director N.V. Krishnan: "Coimbatoreans, with their enterprise, are quick to change. This has led such companies as Ford to seek us as reliable ancillary component suppliers." This, he feels, is only going to strengthen in future given the upbeat mood of the industrialists.

Sakthi Sugars vice-president and managing director M. Manickam is equally optimistic. According to him, Coimbatore is a "private town". Its industrialists have taken the town forward solely by their enterprise and resilience, without any government help. According to him, in such areas as textiles and sugar, government policies have, in fact, created problems. Now, with the government withdrawing from these areas and leaving everything to the market, Coimbatore will surely benefit, he says.

Dr. R. Nandagopal, director, PSG Institute of Management, says that now almost all industrialists in the city want to face competition, which is a healthy sign.

A lot of restructuring is happening in industries of all kinds and sizes - small, medium and big. In the past century, industries in Coimbatore grew tremendously, one feeding another and showing resilience in the face of every downturn. But in the process they accumulated a lot of flab, which is now hurting - in terms of reduced profits and high costs - in the environment of recession and enhanced competition.

With trade barriers falling, industries have realised the need to be able to compete internationally and have been restructuring themselves at a feverish pace. Restructuring - to improve quality and cut costs - is happening in several ways, including staff downsizing, product diversification, fine-tuning of manufacturing processes, adding value, modernising, improving quality, branding, and financial cleansing (high-cost debts are retired to lower the interest burden). There is now a tendency to look at long-term rather than quick gains.

While companies in Coimbatore are shedding their conservatism and are becoming more modern, some like UMS chief executive officer Dr. B.V.D. Rao feel that they have a long way to go to become professional and transparent. Almost all big companies are family-run and hence, often, family problems get reflected in their operations. Most important, says Dr. B.V.D. Rao, is to send out to the outside world signals of the behavioural change that has happened.

But the real beneficiaries of the economic recovery are companies that had conserved during the recessionary period; they are registering growth ranging from 15 to 50 per cent in turnover. A number of corporate bodies, manufacturing for multinational corporations, source components from here. For instance, Suzuki of Japan sources auto components from Coimbatore for its unit in Thailand. With over a third of the Fortune 500 companies sourcing components from Coimbatore, little wonder that Coimbatore is emerging as one of the major global outsourcing centres for manufactured products; the city's annual exports of engineering products now exceed Rs.12,000 crores.

Big companies such as Roots, Elgi Equipments and LGB & Sons have adopted modern manufacturing processes such as total quality management (TQM), making it easier for automobile manufacturers to look for reliable supply sources in Coimbatore.

A lot of consolidation is also happening as part of the restructuring process. Most medium and big companies are outsourcing from small and tiny firms, as the former rapidly automate their processes to improve quality and cut labour costs. This may mean fewer jobs with big companies, but labour is being absorbed in the small and tiny units though at lower wages and on a non-permanent basis.

According to Elgi Equipments' company secretary H. Mohan Ram, his company is creating a network of tiny units in and around Coimbatore to source from. In fact, Elgi is trying to revive several tiny units that have gone sick, in order to bring them into its feeder chain. His company will assemble and test the components that it acquires from its feeder units before exporting. The Elgi experiment seems to be catching on and several big and medium companies have started to contract work out to small units and concentrate on assembling, testing (to ensure quality) and research and development (to improve product quality, the technology is being passed on to the tiny units).

No doubt the restructuring has hit the labour badly - most permanent jobs have become casual, many jobs have gone, almost all workers have taken sharp wage cuts, working hours have increased, and workers now perform multiple tasks. Over 250 mills are closed; nearly 50 per cent of the working ones have reduced their workforce by half, one-fourth by 75 per cent, and the remaining have made all workers non-permanent. According to the Coimbatore District Mill Workers' Union, over half the 60,000 mill workers, most of them women, in Coimbatore and Erode are casual workers.

AquaSub Engineering's general manager V. Krishna Kumar feels that competition from Chinese imports is only a perceived threat. According to him, while the Chinese cater to pumps of only one voltage specification, pumps made in Coimbatore can be used for different voltages that the market needs. But the real threat is from the unorganised sector, which caters to the bulk of the demand and at a much cheaper price, as it does not attract excise and other duties.

According to Elgi's Mohan Ram, India's advantage over China is that India can cater to mid-segment buyers who require 10,000-20,000 pieces, while China can only supply to bulk buyers. G. Rajendran, director of CRI Pumps and former president of SIEMA, says that the small and tiny foundries and pump manufacturers are going through a tough time despite being major suppliers of pumps in the country - worth over Rs.800 crores - on account of the high cost of inputs such as steel, coke, power and copper.

Says G.K. Sundaram of Lakshmi Mills: "Coimbatore has done very well for itself without government help. It is the industries - textiles, sugar, foundries, and so on - that are dependent on government policies (usually haphazard, fluctuating and inconsistent) that are hit the hardest." According to him, if the government stops "policing" and "leaves us to do our business, we will be much better off". Most industrialists here agree with this sentiment. But the only help they want from the government is better infrastructure - better air, rail and road connectivity, in particular.

THE boom in Coimbatore is also palpable with the enhanced activity in real estate and retail business. For instance, Srivatsa Real Estates managing director C.S. Ramaswamy says that a number of real estate companies such as Land Marvel, Sahara Homes and Appaswamy Real Estates are coming to Coimbatore. In business since 1996, Srivatsa Real Estates has constructed one million square feet of commercial and residential space and done business for Rs.100 crores; it is looking ahead to taking a large pie of the booming real estate market. Says its executive director V. Jayaraman: "The next five years are surely going to be a boom period for Coimbatore."

According to Sree Kumaran Thangamaligai director P.K. Aroomugum, there is a big rush to buy jewellery as it is considered the best form of investment, particularly after the fall in savings bank interest rates. While several players came into the jewellery business in Coimbatore in the last few years, those with ethics and good quality products have survived. Sree Kumaran Thangamaligai has imported a carat meter that can check gold quality. According to Aroomugum, there are 60,000 skilled jewellery artisans in Coimbatore. To utilise their skills it is important that the government rationalise the tax structure so that shops that operate with small margins can benefit and hire more skilled workers consistently. The increase in jewellery sales indicates a rise in the purchasing power of the people - a sign of an upbeat economy.

In fact, many people feel that one of the primary reasons why IT did not take off in Coimbatore is the lack of good air connectivity. But now, with the government planning to set up an IT park, IT majors such as Wipro, Satyam and Tata Consultancy Services are showing interest in setting up shop in Coimbatore. With several more making inquiries, Coimbatore is hopeful of making it big. The industrialists feel that software and auto components will propel Coimbatore's growth.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called for the establishment of the Kongu Development Authority to boost the development of the Coimbatore region, which is seeking to become a global outsourcing hub for different industries.

As the city is on the threshold of becoming the second largest IT centre after Chennai in Tamil Nadu, the chamber has urged various government departments to address the issue of infrastructure bottlenecks in order to attract potential investors and improve the quality of life of its citizens. It wants the airport expanded and modernised for more national and international flights, and a ring road built linking Coimbatore with Salem, Pollachi, Tiruchi, Palakkad, Mysore and Udhagamandalam so that long-distance travellers can bypass the city.

Says M. Krishnan of Krishna Sweets: "We have good reasons to believe that the worst is over and there will be an upswing." This feeling is echoed in almost every nook and corner of Coimbatore.
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Old February 17th, 2005, 03:41 AM   #5
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Hyundai to build second plant in Chennai


CHENNAI, FEB. 16. Hyundai Motor Company said on Wednesday that it would build a second automobile plant in India to meet the growing demand and aimed to use the country as a regional export hub.

Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo revealed the plan during his visit to the Chennai unit. He said the company would utilise India to manufacture and ship vehicles to Europe, South America and West Asia.

Addressing the employees at Hyundai Motor India, Mr. Chung said Chennai facility was targeting to produce 2.50 lakh units (16 per cent increase in sales growth) in the current year. He, however, did not give the financial details on the cost of building the plant, which will be located next to the existing plant in Chennai.

The new plant will have a production capacity of 1.50 lakh vehicles a year.

It may be recalled that the Hyundai Santro was designed and developed in India at the integrated auto-manufacturing unit at Irrungattukatoi near Chennai.

The plant produced 2.15 lakh vehicles last year. Of these, 1.40 lakh units were sold in India and the balance was exported. If the second plant was put into full operation, the company would almost triple its overseas production from 8.90 lakh units this year to 2.38 million by 2010.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:30 AM   #6
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Employment unlimited in Tirupur
Friday February 18 2005 00:00 IST
TIRUPUR: While in the rest of the country ‘No Vacancy’ boards are a common sight, in Tirupur one sees boards announcing ‘We Want Workers’ put up in front of most units, big and small.

With the existing ones on a modernisation spree and new ones being set up in the wake of the lifting of quota restrictions, this knitwear town is expected to create over one lakh employment opportunities in the next couple of years, according to the South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association (SIHMA).

Major trade unions, like the CITU and AITUC, predict the employment market here to grow by 25 to 30 percent by the end of this year. The newly set up Nethaji Apparel Park, promoted by about 70 exporters, would alone require about 15,000 skilled workers.

‘‘The demand for labour is very high, but unfortunately we are not getting skilled manpower in adequate numbers,’’ says G Karthikeyan, secretary, Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA).

‘‘TEA will shortly forge tie-ups with polytechnics in the southern districts for intake of skilled manpower,’’ he says. At present only unskilled manpower from the southern districts land in Tirupur.

‘‘Necessary training is needed in various sectors of the garment manufacturing process,’’ says SIHMA president Mohan Kandaswamy. With business enquiries pouring in from abroad, he says adequate training is a must for workers from the southern districts and from Kerala.

Ahil Rathinasamy, president, Knitcloth Manufacturers Association, says, ‘‘there is ample scope for more modernisation as only Rs 8,000 crore out of Rs 25,000 crore from the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) has been utilised so far.’’ Usually, modernisation and technological upgradation result in workers losing jobs in thousands.

However, in Tirupur, modernisation means ever more manpower. ‘‘There are not many exporters used to producing in large volumes. Production capacity can’t be increased overnight. Expansion will be gradual and the need for skilled manpower will grow with it,’’ says K P Govindasamy, president of TEKMA.

Last year, Tirupur spent roughly Rs 5,000 crore on import of machinery. This year, an additional Rs 2,000 crore will be spent. ‘‘More machinery entails more skilled labour here,’’ notes Govindasamy.

‘‘The search for unskilled labourers has been going on at a rapid pace,’’ says K Kamaraj, a trade unionist.

The Tirupur exporters in fact send dozens of trucks to neighbouring Kerala to source such labour, he points out.

While bigger companies with larger output enrol skilled hands as regular employees, the smaller units employ labour only on contract basis; mostly as daily wagers for a short period.

Once an assignment is completed, the workers are on their own, looking for other avenues, which are not lacking anyway. That explains the plethora of ‘Velaiku Atkal Thevai’ boards everywhere here.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 06:03 PM   #7
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The manufacturing vertical owes a lot to Tamil Nadu, because it is here that this vertical thrives at its best. Called the Detroit of India, Chennai today houses some of the very big names in the automotive industry. Ford India, one of the big-ticket auto investments that came into Chennai in the mid-1990s, has become a key hub for Ford in the Asia-Pacific region. The Ford plant in Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai rolls out models like Escort, Ikon, Endeavor, and Mondeo. The Chennai unit's latest achievement is the spanking new offering from its stable is the mid-sized urban utility vehicle- Fusion. Ford has put in place a state of the art plant in Maraimalai Nagar and has used IT heavily in all process of its manufacturing right from sourcing raw materials to the shop floor. According to industry sources, Ford has invested around Rs 1,600 crore on the 350-acre plant, which has the capacity to roll out one-lakh cars a year.

The Driving Force
Not far away from Ford, another biggie in the automotive space is Korean giant Hyundai Motors, which launched its Indian operation in 1996. It has its Indian plant at Irungatukottai near Chennai. From here, Hyundai rolls out models like Santro Xing, Accent, Getz, Elantra and Terracan. Hyundai has so far pumped in close to $700 mn on its plant here and plans are on the anvil to scale up its manufacturing capabilities to up its car production in excess of two lakh a year.

TVS, automobile and electronics company, is a home-grown spectacular success story

Meanwhile, Hindustan Motors also has large mandates and its plant in Thiruvallur makes the Ambassador, Lancer, and Pajero in alliance with Mitsubishi. Also heavy earth moving equipments are manufactured in a tie-up with Caterpillar. Another company on the niche auto space is Tractor and Farm Equipment (TAFE), started in 1961. TAFE holds close to 15% market share in this space and sells close to 24,000 tractors a year. The company has also implemented SAP and developed many in-house IT applications for HR.

Meanwhile, entities like Rane Group and Sundaram Fasteners dominate in the auto ancillary space they make critical components ranging from bolts, nuts to fasteners. Ashok Leyland, the truck major, which signed out of last year with around 48,000 units, is also an aggressive user of IT and an Oracle global case study reference.

On the two-wheeler segment, a company that is challenging the mighty Hero Honda is TVS Motors. When Suzuki exited from its JV with TVS three years back, many in the industry wondered how TVS is going to make the transition without Suzuki. But it overwhelmed the skeptics by successfully launching four stroke motorbikes, which is today its flagship product indegeneously built. The success of TVS' Victor brand of four-stroke motorbikes has eaten into the four-stroke pie and today competes head on with Splendor and Caliber brands.

On the Periphery
All types of manufacturing thrives in Chennai and if we look at the IT peripherals market, TVS Electronics is the company that has carved a name for itself in the printer space by its flagship Dot Matrix Printer offerings. TVSE started out its operations in Chennai in 1998 and since then has almost doubled its productivity from 450 printers a day, to 750 printers a day, presently. Says Gopal Srinivasan, director, TVSE, " The company has been successful largely because of manufacturing excellence through TQM principles and combining the principles of Six Sigma.With business agility that the IT market demands, we have been able to successfully sustain and compete against global players." Meanwhile, players like HCL Peripherals and Numeric Power Systems also have manufacturing facilities out of Chennai.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #8
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Rs.12-crore project to revamp traffic system in Madurai

MADURAI, FEB. 19. A massive exercise to revamp the traffic system in the Temple City has been mooted with focus on road safety, modern equipment and traffic education.

The Rs. 12-crore project has been approved by the Traffic Advisory Committee and forwarded to the office of the Director-General of Police for administrative sanction. This will be in addition to the Rs. 75-lakh traffic improvement scheme funded by the Madurai Corporation.

Pilot project

Besides infrastructure, the pilot project has taken into account engineering and environmental aspects that would cater to the requirements of road-users for at least a decade. Aimed at minimising road accidents, traffic congestion and pollution levels, the draft report elicited the views of traders, consumer organisations, autorickshaw drivers, bus/lorry operators and the media. Expert opinion was also sought from the National Highways Authority of India, Public Works Department, State Highways and the Madurai Corporation.

Escalators, closed circuit television (CCTV), traffic park, multi-level parking, flyovers and sub-ways are part of the project. A task force formed by the Commissioner of Police, Vijay Kumar, undertook a month-long survey to study the traffic problems. Subways at the St. Marys, Goripalayalam, Kalavasal, Dindigul Bypass, East Gate and Old TVS Junctions and flyovers at five places have been recommended.

Road development

Police have chalked out a road development plan recommending widening of several roads, construction of medians, pedestrian platforms and relocation of electricity board lamp-posts.

( note: 50 unauthorised construction of temples,churches,mosques along the road side were demolished )

only now the Govt has got the guts to do so....mainly because Maduari High Court has ordered for demolition.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 10:08 PM   #9
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As much uncomfortable as I am to watch that temple fall to the ground, I know it must be done all over the country with all illegally constructed places of worship to give our cities a semblance of order.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 12:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
( note: 50 unauthorised construction of temples,churches,mosques along the road side were demolished )
good move !
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 01:36 AM   #11
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Work on NHAI projects in and around Chennai to start in 15 days


"The contracts have been awarded and the execution will be on a fast-track basis," L.K. Joshi, NHAI member (project implementation), told The Hindu here today after reviewing the progress of the schemes with field officials.

In addition to the construction of the second phase of the Chennai bypass and widening of the Tambaram-Maduravoyal stretch to four lanes, the projects include flyovers at Koyambedu, Kathipara and Padi and near the airport. A few weeks ago, the former Chief Minister, M. Karuanidhi, formally launched the work on the schemes.

The second leg of the Chennai bypass is from Maduravoyal to Madhavaram via Ambattur over 13 km. This segment will have four lanes. The existing bridges, one across the Adyar and the other over the Porur lake, both forming part of the first stretch of the bypass, will also be widened. The entire cost of the bypass project is estimated at Rs. 480 crores. The NHAI has been executing the other schemes at a cost of Rs. 235 crores.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 03:01 PM   #12
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Asahi plans Rs 930 cr facilities upgrade in chennai


Asahi India Glass is in the midst of a Rs 930 crore upgrade of its manufacturing facilities to continue for two more years and equip the company with three integrated glass factories to serve the automobile and construction industries.

The company inaugurated the first phase of an automotive glass plant in Chennai today. Asahi invested Rs 55 crore in the first phase, and the total investment is expected to go up to Rs 180 crore once the fifth phase is done.

The Chennai plant has been started with a capacity of 5 lakh laminated windshields a year, and would serve companies such as Hyundai, Toyota Kirloskar, Ford and Volvo. The company also hopes to use the Chennai plant for exports.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 03:27 PM   #13
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Highlights of Union Railway Budget 2005-06-Tamil Nadu

*Delhi Dadar-Chennai Express to a superfast one (150kph)

1)New Shatabdi between Chennai and Bangalore (six days a week )
2)New train between Chennai and Pondicherry
3)New train between Chennai-Secunderabad via Kurnool
4)New passenger train between Kumbakonam and Thanjavur daily
5)New passenger train between Thiruvarur and Thanjavur daily
6)New passenger train between Madurai and Manamadurai daily

Chennai-Erode express extended upto Coimbatore
Chennai-Vizag express extended upto Buvaneshwar
Mysore-Thanjavur express extended upto Kumbakonam
Trichy-Thanjavur 2 passenger trains extended upto Thiruvarur

Chennai-Cuddalore (Via Mahabalipuram)
Sathyamangalam-Mettur (Via Anthiyur)
Mayiladuthurai-Karaikal (Via thirunalaru, Thanrangapadi)
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Old February 27th, 2005, 06:05 AM   #14
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Cudalore to have Textile-processing Park

Chennai, Feb 26: The Tamil Nadu government proposes to set up a Rs 1000 crore 'textile processing park' at Cuddalore soon, state secretary for Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textile and Khadi A Elangovan today said.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #15
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^ Hey cool, Cuddalore is my home town.
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he gets drunk and sunburned every weekend.

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Old February 28th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #16
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Vestas plans 300 MW capacity addition, new plant in Chennai:

[India News]: Kolkata, Feb 27 : Vestas RRB India Ltd, a leading player in wind power generation in India, was planning a capacity addition of 300-400 MW while aiming a turnover of about Rs 1,000 crore in 2005-6.

The Indo-Danish joint venture, which has already installed over 1,000 wind power generation units generating about 350 MW of power, planned a capacity addition of another 300-400 MW by next year, company managing director Rakesh Bakshi told PTI here.

Given the enormous potential of wind power generation in India, ''we are also planning to set up a new plant in Chennai to manufacture blades and controllers (of wind electric generators) at an investment of Rs 35 crore,'' Bakshi said.

The company, a 51:49 JV between RRB Consultants and Engineers Pvt Ltd, India and Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark, expected to garner a turnover of Rs 600 crore in 2004-5 while aiming to exceed Rs 1,000 crore next year following the capacity addition.

The company's new wind power projects would come up in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Kerala.

Bakshi, though optimistic about India's potential to become a 'super power' in renewable energy sector, clamoured for a national policy and legislation to attract private investment.

''The potential for wind power generation in the country is estimated at 45,000 MW while installed capacity is only 3,000 MW. There exists a huge gap in between, mainly due to the absence of a national policy or legislation for the renewable energy sector,'' he said. PTI
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Old February 28th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #17
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Cognizant Technology Solutions will expand to other cities in TN by next year


Lakshmi Narayanan, president and CEO, Cognizant says....
It is mandatory for us and for the government to develop other cities outside of Chennai, lest the city be congested like Bangalore. I think the city planners and policy makers should consciously re-direct any investments into Chennai beyond a certain threshold to places like Coimbatore, Tiruchy and Madurai and prepare the infrastructure there for growth. The good thing is the level of urbanisation in Tamil Nadu is so high that a few steps in the right direction will make things easy for all
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Old March 1st, 2005, 03:11 PM   #18
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One million more IT jobs in State by 2009

Around one million more jobs would be generated in the IT sector over the next four years in the State.

Speaking to this website’s newspaper on Monday, IT secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu, Vivek Harinarain, said the State would witness a tremendous employment generation in the field of IT and ITES in the next four years.

‘‘We are looking at the prospect of generating one million new jobs in the IT sector in the next five years,’’ said Harinarain.

This comes in the backdrop of the Union Budget 2005-2006, in which Finance Minister P Chidambaram announced that around seven million jobs would be generated in the IT sector in the country.

That Tamil Nadu alone would grab around one million of it, as per government reports, would mean new avenues for all the 70,000-odd professionals who pass out of the 220 engineering colleges spread across the State every year.

According to him, the State was capable of generating more than two lakh jobs annually for the next four years if the existing trend did not falter. ‘‘The tremendous change in infrastructure seen over the last few years will attract a number of new companies to set up shop here and this will mean more jobs,’’ he added.

Multiple reasons have been attributed to the tremendous boom in the IT sector in TN. If the proposed Express Highway in Chennai has been attracting companies in the last couple of years, there are indications that other districts like Madurai and Coimbatore are also in for improvement in infrastructure with IT giants themselves looking at the prospects of upgrading the facilities similar to what Infosys has done in Mangalore.
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Old March 1st, 2005, 11:40 PM   #19
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Allotment far from adequate for rail gauge conversion

CHENNAI, MARCH 1. There is a mismatch between allotment of funds and commitment to certain gauge conversion works in Tamil Nadu.

The Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, in his budget announced that the Kumbakonam-Mayiladuturai section of the Villupuram-Thanjavur project, the Manamadurai-Mandapam section of the Madurai-Rameswaram project, the Tiruchi-Pudukottai section of the Tiruchi-Manamadurai project and the Vriddhachalam-Attur section of the Salem-Vriddhachalam project will be targeted for conversion for the coming financial year.

But the funds allotment is far from adequate, say Southern Railway officials here.

As per Mr. Prasad's announcement, a stretch of about 350 km is to be converted in the next financial year and will require about Rs. 350 crores at the average cost of conversion of Rs. 1 crore a km. But the allotment for the targeted portions is just Rs. 160 crores, less than 50 per cent of the requirement.

The allotment for the 32-km Kumbakonam-Mayiladuthurai stretch is just Rs. 1 crore. Passengers complained that the Thanajvur-Villupuram section was the most neglected stretch in Southern Railway and that gauge conversion had been going for years with no end in sight.

At present there was no direct link to Chennai from Mayiladuturai, Chidambaram and Cuddalore. The passengers had to get down at Tambaram, 25 km from the city. At this rate of allotment, it would take at least five more years for the project to be completed.

Only for the Tiruchi-Pudukottai and Vriddhachalam-Attur sections have sufficient funds been sanctioned. A sum of Rs. 50 crores has been granted for the 53- km stretch from Tiruchi to Pudukottai.

As the State Government is sharing 50 per cent cost of the Cuddalore-Salem project, the amount sanctioned (Rs. 42 crores), along with the State's equal contribution, will help the Southern Railway complete the Vriddhachalam-Attur section (84 km) in the next financial year. For the Manamadurai-Mandapam section (97 km), only 25 crores has been allotted. This is one of the most important works of Southern Railway, as it will put the pilgrim town Rameswaram on the broad gauge map.

Another major project hit by poor fund allotment is the Karur-Salem new line. As against the estimated cost of Rs. 230 crores, Rs. 70 crores has been spent on the new line. In the current year, Rs. 1 crore was allotted. Land acquisition is said to be a major reason for the delay in completing the project.

However, officials here are hopeful of getting more funds during the year. They said even last year the allotted money was less than the requirement. But the zone succeeded in completing all targeted projects including the Egmore-Tambaram suburban, Madurai-Manamadurai, Rajaplayam-Tenkasi and Thanjavur-Tiruvarur sections, mobilising the required amount. They would complete the stretches this year too, they added.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 01:53 PM   #20
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Budget gives importance to rural sector

In an election year budget, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister C Ponniayan today announced two 'poverty reduction programmes' at a combined cost of Rs.735 crore and did not propose any fresh taxation measures, leaving the overall deficit of Rs.260.41 crore uncovered.

The Tamil Nadu empowerment and poverty reduction project, at a cost of Rs.715 crore would be implemented in 15 districts with World Bank aid, Ponnaiyan told the Assembly while presenting the budget.

Each selected village would have a "village livelihood fund" to support the poor families and improve their economic condition, with particular focus on disadvantaged families.

Another comprehensive scheme to benefit three lakh "ultra poor" families would be implemented at a cost of rs 20 crore. The scheme would provide a comprehensive social safety net consisting of food security, access to facilities like education and health care, he said.

A comprehensive road infrastructure development programme would be implemented at a cost of Rs.1050 crore, for which Rs.750 crore had been provided in this year's budget, he said.

The investment on highways, roads, electricity, urban development, water supply and sewerage has been stepped up "enormously", she told reporters. "In a nutshell, it is a growth-oriented, pro-poor and brilliant budget," she said.

Ponnaiyan said the Chennai's water requirement of 840 mld would be met by setting up a desalination plant, for which global tenders had been floated and by completion of the New Veeranam extension project, costing Rs.300 crore.

Despite increase in the diesel price, he ruled out upward revision of bus fares in the state.

Cuddalore and Nagapattinam minor ports would be developed at a cost Rs.70 crore, he said.

A special task force would be constituted to go into the problem of pollution of rivers by the industry, he announced.

Last edited by [email protected]; March 2nd, 2005 at 02:56 PM.
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