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Thursday, November 02, 2006

CII to showcase southern districts

After one-and-a-half years of marketing its Southern Progress Through Enhanced Economic Development (SPEED) initiative to the State Government, the Confederation of Indian Industry, southern region (CII-SR) is taking its proposals to corporate investors.

It will hold an exposition-cum-conference called SPEED 2006 to showcase the strengths of Tamil Nadu's southern districts in Madurai from December 1 to 3. SPEED 2006 chairman and Thiagarajar Mills managing director T. Kannan expects the southern districts to attract fresh investment in infrastructure and manufacturing which will have the potential to create 80,000 new jobs over the next three years.

In March 2005, CII presented the results of a study covering the "unexplored opportunity" in seven districts and proposed a four-pronged strategy: to create a manufacturing hub in Madurai, with satellite hubs in Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin; an export-cum-services hub at Tuticorin; knowledge corridors at Madurai, Virudhunagar and Tirunelveli; and tourism corridors at Madurai, Karaikudi, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari.

The plan called for large infrastructure investments by the Government. Mr. Kannan says there have been two rounds of talks with the departments concerned and the proposals have been received well. However, several senior CII leaders admit that the pace of progress has been slow, and that "the ongoing process" could take 3 to 5 or even 10 years to show results.

Now, SPEED co-chairman and TVS executive director R. Dinesh says the conference will provide a platform to present its initiative to corporates and harness new investment.

The conference will be inaugurated by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is also likely to participate. Key leaders from Indian industry have also been approached, including Infosys' Nandan Nilekani, United Breweries' Vijay Mallya, Ashok Leyland's R Seshasayee and HCL's Shiv Nadar.

Source: The Hindu

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