15 February 2007
Prospects for many ancillary units, enormous job potential
CUDDALORE: The proposal of Goodearth Maritime Limited, Korea, to set up a shipbuilding unit in Cuddalore has enthused the industrial circle and the exponents of economic growth.
Official sources told The Hindu that the likely location of the unit would be Thiagavalli, located beyond Cuddalore Port. It is closer to the SIPCOT Industrial Estate that is slated to get certain other major industrial ventures.
At Thiagavalli, there exists a vast uncultivable sandy stretch and hence, the location is ideally suited for the unit. The extent of land to be acquired is yet to be determined. Once the project comes through, Cuddalore will become a major economic hub, next to Chennai, as it holds out prospects for many ancillary units and enormous employment potential.
The proposal has created a great deal of expectations among the people of otherwise an economically backward district, which is highly prone to natural disasters. After the December 26,2004 tsunami had left a trail of devastation along its over 50 km-long coastal line and made the fisher folks look for alternative sources of sustenance, and the unprecedented floods in 2005 had damaged standing crops on thousands of acres of land, the people are anxiously awaiting a project that will give a prop to the district economy.
The environmentalists and service organisations that are generally opposed to the setting up of polluting industries are coming around to the view that the shipbuilding unit will contribute to the economic growth of the region.
The official sources state that other major projects on the anvil are: the crude oil refinery of the Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd, a Rs. 500-crore poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) factory of Chemplast Sanmar Ltd, a textile park and cashew processing zone at Panruti. However, there is a stiff opposition from the SIPCOT Local Monitoring Committeeto setting up of new units that have the potential to exacerbate the pollution condition. The textile park is yet to take a concrete shape as land is yet to be identified.
The Cuddalore Port needs improvement and refurbishment. Therefore, before launching any massive project such as the shipbuilding unit, the infrastructure need to be improved and efforts should be made to carry along the environmentalists.