250 water bodies in TN’s industrial estates to be restored with IIT-M help

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on February 29, 2020

With a view to de-risking industries from water shortage, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to rehabilitate around 250 water bodies lying currently in disuse in the various land parcels owned by the state’s industry promotion body, SIPCOT.

The state government is taking the help of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras for this purpose, N Muruganandam, Principal Secretary ,Industries department , Government of Tamil Nadu, said today.

“With the restoration of these water bodies along with the planned tertiary treatment and desalination water plants, the industry can be fully assured that there would never be a water shortage problem even in the worst of droughts,” Muruganandam said, speaking at the annual conference of the Tamil Nadu Chapter of the Confederation of India Industry.

Chennai has two ‘Tertiary Treatment Reverse Osmosis’ (TTRO) plants of 45 million-litres-a-day capacity each; the capacity of these is to be increased to 60 MLD. When this happens, no industry in and around Chennai would ever face a water problem, he said.

As for other regions, the state government plans to put up a “chain of desalination plants” in the coastal areas. In this context, Muruganandam mentioned Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram and Cuddalore.

Speaking of the challenges faced by the industry, Muruganandam said that he recognised ‘land acquisition’ was one of the big challenges, but observed that the state government had been making it simpler for industry to buy land.

Aneesh Sekhar, Executive Director of the Tamil Nadu’s investment facilitation body, Guidance Bureau, said that the government is working on a “platform which will act as an ‘Amazon’ for land”. Observing that the industry faced a lot of confusion over land such as on availability, location and ownership, Sekhar said that the platform will give a better idea to those who want to buy land.

High tariffs not a good idea

Speaking on the occasion, K Shanmugam, Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, said that giving protection to the domestic industry with high import tariffs “is not a sustainable strategy for the long term”.

It may be remembered that in the recent Budget, the Government of India had raised duties on a host of imported goods. The government doubled tariffs on items like kitchenware, fans and small electrical appliances to 20 per cent and raised duties on a range of furniture from 25 to 30 per cent. This move has invited criticism from some quarters that the government is being more protectionist.

High tariffs not only incentivise inefficiency, but also hurt export-oriented industries, he said, adding that the Tamil Nadu government, on its part, is committed to lowering the cost of inputs. Promotion of industrial clusters, he said, would help. He also exhorted the industry to make use of the “golden opportunity” arising out of “the challenges that China faces today.”

Published on February 29, 2020

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