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Monday, May 03, 2004

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Strengthening SSI to arrest migration from villages

K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad , May 2

IN a unique effort that is aimed at arresting migration from rural areas, the Vizianagaram district administration and local chamber of commerce and industry have embarked upon a plan to develop the Bobbili Growth Centre (BGC).

Set up on an 1150-acre plot 60 km away from the district headquarters over a decade ago, the growth centre was to house small-scale industries that could bring in some economic activity into one of the least developed districts in the State. But not much has happened.

Identifying the need for developing a good industrial muscle to solve problems such as unemployment, the district administration has now taken up a programme to re-launch the growth centre.

As part of showcasing the centre, the district administration, in association with Viziaganaram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organised a roadshow at Fapcci (Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry). It was attended by prospective entrepreneurs and top officials from financial institutions such as Andhra Pradesh State Financial Corporation and Small Industries Development Bank of India.

Dr Rajatkumar, District Collector of Vizianagaram, said the time had come for the development of the north coastal districts of the State.

"Eighty per cent of people depend on agriculture. But agriculture is not so developed and subsist on low-quality jute," he said.

He said the district had been making strides in the last three years. In 2002-03, the credit plan was put at Rs 193 crore. "It registered nearly 100 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) in the following two years. While it is Rs 351 crore for 2003-04 and Rs 715 crore for the current fiscal," he said.

Stating that the district was on a path of development, he asked entrepreneurs to capitalise on the district's strengths and explore opportunities there.

According to him, one of the solutions for problems being faced by people in rural areas could be strengthening of SSI.

Referring to the BGC, he said it could not take off thanks to lack of awareness. "By October 2002, there was only unit. Somebody suggested why not grow fodder to come to the rescue of people crippled by drought. It shook me a little bit and I started working on it. By March 2003, three more units came up," he said.

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