Wednesday, Jul 16, 2003
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By S. Ganesan
The Rs.2.30-crore project, inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, in March, has failed to attract the entrepreneurs. The locals outlook on the prospects of the new estate varies from outright pessimism to cautious optimism. With engineering fabrication units, mainstay of the region, facing a crisis, industry sources see little scope for development of the estate. Agro-based industries, especially banana value-added products, would be the most viable option, said the president, BHEL Small Scale Industries Association, R.Rajappa Rajkumar.
The industry sources feel that the cost was too high, considering the plots' remote location. But the SIDCO Managing Director, S.Rajarathinam, at a recent meeting here, said the rates had been reduced following representations from the local industry. The corporation offered the plots on a non-profit basis, at about Rs.5.10 lakhs an acre (against the original price of Rs.8 lakhs) in different sizes. Entrepreneurs could take even 10 cents, a SIDCO official said.
Mr. Rajarathinam said the SIDCO was taking all efforts to encourage women entrepreneurs, offering a composite term loan scheme in association with the National Small Industries Corporation. He said the entrepreneurs could get up to Rs.25 lakhs credit for shed, machinery and working capital without any collateral security. Entrepreneurs were required to bring in only five per cent of the project cost as margin money.
Industry representatives, however, called for a focussed approach to woo prospective entrepreneurs. It was all right to hold seminars and workshops. But follow-up action was required. Government agencies could come up with specific project profiles. A section of the industrialists suggested aggressive marketing and steps to improve the approach road connecting the estate to the Thanjavur highway.
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