R.Yegya Narayanan

For long, Coimbatore nursed an angst that despite the city's contribution to the Centre and State kitty by way of taxes, it did not get much in return. This feeling only gained in strength on seeing the development of Chennai where the Government lavished attention.

But it seems Coimbatore has got the attention of the Central and State Governments with about Rs 3,000 crore expected for infrastructure facilities in the next five years as the textile city witnesses hectic activity in the manufacturing sector and the government sponsored IT (Tidel) Park set to start operations. .

Dr P. Umanath, Coimbatore District Collector, said the city now has a diversified industrial base by expanding into general engineering, pumps and motors, auto components and foundries. There is a `transition' into higher league with industrial giants like L&T and Suzlon establishing manufacturing facilities.

The next level of development will come from the secondary sector and rapid growth of tertiary sector which has not been seen with many of the tier II cities.

With quality fresh graduates available in plenty in the engineering institutions here, the city could easily make the next big move in IT with the state government putting up its biggest IT park here and adjacent to this some of the techie biggies have bought land to put up facilities in the IT SEZ.

One big player is also asking for space in the Tidel Park before its own facility is ready.

Airport expansion

Referring to the Coimbatore airport expansion plans, the Collector said the Airports Authority of India's (AAI) investment in the amounting close to Rs 400 crore would be one of AAI's `biggest investments in a non metro- airport development'.

The cost of land acquisition, being worked out, would be borne by the state government. The aim is to complete the process by April. The airport expansion work may take about two years. The expansion takes the expected air traffic growth in the next 35 years into account and the runway may be for 12,500 feet.

Dr Umanath said the modernisation and expansion of the Coimbatore airport would help not only the growth of the IT industry but the health care industry and educational institutions also would get a shot in the arm with better international connectivity.

Road infrastructure

He said the road infrastructure in the city is in for a major makeover with the planned construction of two bypasses which would provide a virtual circular road facility. Work on the four-laning of NH 47 from Chengapalli to Walayar on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border has commenced which is expected to cost about Rs 850 crore.

The NHAI is building the Eastern bye pass outside the city from Sulur (on the Coimbatore-Tiruchi road) to Mettupalayam that would cost about Rs 660 crore.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 30, 2011)
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