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Nanguneri SEZ: TN govt plans to acquire 1,000 acres from private developer

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on September 15, 2021

The Nanguneri Multiproduct Special Economic Zone, established by late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in March   -  FILE PICTURE

Plans to develop it as a joint venture between AMRL and SIPCOT

Nanguneri SEZ in Tirunelveli district of southern Tamil Nadu is back in news. Tamil Nadu government, through State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Sipcot), is planning to acquire about 1,000 acres of land from the SEZ private developer - AMRL Hitech City Ltd, convert to Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) and develop it as a joint venture between AMRL and SIPCOT.

Out of the 2,500 acres of land, AMRL has been able to sell only 130 acres in all these years. The company is willing to provide the 1,000 acres of land, said a senior government official.

Converting Nanguneri SEZ into a multi-product joint venture between AMRL and Sipcot augurs well with the State government’s plan to take industries to backward areas from places such as Chennai and Coimbatore. “We are hopeful of developing the 1,000 acres in DTA format in the next 18 months,” the official said.

Industrial parks at nearby Gangaikondan (Brittania has a unit here) in Tirunelveli district and Bargur (Ola’s electric vehicle factory is located here) Thoothukudi are full. Sipcot is looking for land in the backward areas and developing joint ventures. The Nanguneri project could be a good experiment, he added.

The Nanguneri SEZ was the pet project of the former union commerce and industry minister, late Murasoli Maran. The foundation stone for the project was laid with much fanfare during the DMK regime in 2001 and became functional in March 2011. It is strategically located at a distance of 82 km from the VOC Port in Thoothukudi and 50 km from the Thoothukudi airport. Despite this, it could not attract companies to invest due to the SEZ-related issues.

Backward area development is a major focus area for the State government, which has identified 22 districts that are industrially backward, and incentives are given for investors. The government plans to acquire nearly 45,000 acres (mostly private land) mostly in the backward areas.

Demand is there, and it takes time. For instance, there was no taker for Bargur industrial park that was started in 1993. However, electric vehicle manufacturer Ola took away the whole place.

While Chennai is a big draw for companies to set up their units, at the same time the State government wants to push industrial development in other districts by offering incentives. For instance, in backward districts, land is available at 50 per cent discount, which is a great incentive. Also, most of the manpower comes from southern districts and work in places like Chennai. Operational cost is much lower in districts as compared to Chennai or Coimbatore, the official said.

Published on September 14, 2021

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