Saturday, October 03, 2009
DMK resolution fuels more pleas from parties
From The Hindu
CHENNAI: The call by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to accord permanent resident status for over one lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the State has triggered more demands from political parties.
Welcoming the resolution adopted by the DMK at a conference last week, D. Ravikumar, general secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, who had made a study of the conditions of the refugees three years ago, said the measures taken by authorities here would give India a moral right to seek better treatment of internally-displaced Tamils in Sri Lankan camps.
Urging the administration to increase financial assistance for the refugees, Mr. Ravikumar said the State should exert pressure on the Centre to bring out a comprehensive legislation on refugees.
Responding positively to the DMK resolution, S. Ramadoss, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder, asked what follow-up action DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi would take to make the resolution a reality.
“Admission of guilt”
D. Pandian, State secretary of the Communist Party of India, termed the resolution an “admission of guilt” that the refugees would not be able to go back to their homeland.
He held the State and Central governments responsible.
Supporting the idea of giving citizenship to the refugees, Mr. Pandian, however, said that even in such an eventuality, the Centre should ensure that the Sri Lankan Tamils’ right to return to their home country was protected. There should be no compulsion on the refugees.
L. Ganesan, Bharatiya Janata Party’s State president, said that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravisankar had already made a suggestion on similar lines.
With the Sri Lankan government’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam over, the Centre should treat the refugees in Tamil Nadu better.
The authorities should relax conditions on them, particularly in matters concerning the search for livelihood opportunities. The Centre should also work for their early return to Sri Lanka.
S.C. Chandrahasan, founder of the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR), an NGO that works with Sri Lankan refugees in the State, termed the resolution “goodwill gesture.”
OfERR would start a consultative process entailing discussions in the camps, at the district and regional levels, after which a decision might be made as to how they could respond to the DMK resolution.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Several new industries may set up shop in southern districts
CHENNAI: Several new industrial sites are expected to come up in the southern districts in the near future, according to a senior official in the State Industries Department.
Citing Videocon, Sterlite Industries and Coastal Energy Company as companies likely to set up plants in the southern districts in the near future, the official said setting up industries in new areas was both a matter of the government creating “confidence and trust” in those who would invest their money, as well as the projects “financially making sense.”
The Ratnavel Pandian panel findings of earlier years are likely to have strengthened the Chief Minister’s desire to push forward with industrialisation in the southern districts, according to the official. It was with a view to “making it financially viable and more attractive,” that the Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had announced a number of steps towards promoting industrialisation in southern districts in the State Assembly last year.
Following numerous incentive and structured assistance packages offered by the State government, including soft loans carrying 0.1% interest towards Value Added Tax, given for three to five years, a number of new industrial plants are expected to set up shop in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram districts.
One company that has “indicated interest” in setting up a plant in the southern part of the State is Videocon. “They are considering a pretty big investment, of Rs.1500 crore, for all consumer durables,” the Industries Department official said. They may set up two plants – one at Manamadurai and another near Tirunelveli.
Sterlite Industries has said, according to the official, that they want to “double the size of their smelter plant in Tuticorin.” In this case too the planned investment would be around Rs.1500 crore.
Coastal Energy Company is yet another firm planning to set up a plant in Tuticorin, in this case a power project. “They have got the land, placed orders with a Chinese manufacturer and will be investing around Rs.5,000 crore,” the official said.
“We are also talking to a tyre company,” the official added. With an investment of up to Rs.1500 crore on the cards, a new plant may be situated in the vicinity of Kanyakumari and Nagercoil, which are important sources of natural rubber.
Touching upon the large size of the potential market for this product, the official said, “India is way behind the rest of the world in terms of radialisation and suddenly tyre manufacturers have realised that radials are the way forward. In India the demand for radials is picking up and everybody is in a hurry to establish those capacities.” While the tyre company in question has visited a proposed 100-acre site in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate, and “they are happy with the site,” the plans are yet to be finalised.
Overall there is a need to ensure that the physical and human infrastructure is suited to these investments if industrialisation of the southern districts is to advance further.
The official said the issues that would have to be taken up include: making smaller towns attractive to middle level managers, establishing reliable power connections, improving connectivity through the Madurai airport and expanding capacity at the Tuticorin port.
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