Cheyyar hops on to industrial bandwagon

Industrial investments are trickling down to southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Cheyyar, about 100km from Chennai, seems to be the next stop after Sriperumbudur and Oragadam. Recently, Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister M K Stalin inaugurated Nike’s Rs 300 crore, 275-acre footwear SEZ in Cheyyar. With abundant availability of cheap labour in the backward region of Tiruvannamalai district, coupled with proximity to Chennai, Cheyyar is toddling towards industrialisation. Mainly known for agriculture and weaving, the small town is on the growth map of the state government. The State Industries Promotion Corporation (SIPCOT) has already sanctioned 90 acres for eight companies in the Cheyyar Industrial complex and is also planning to acquire an additional 2,300 acres in and around the area. Cheyyar MLA, MK Vishnu Prasad of the Congress, says the constituency is ready for industrial growth as it is already an inhabited area and has proper and easy connectivity and social infrastructure. “There is a hospital about 8 km from the Cheyyar Industrial area. It will take just about 20-30 minutes to reach there. There are also hospitals in Kancheepuram, on the other side. There are enough schools in Cheyyar and in terms of connectivity, a parallel corridor is coming up near Kancheepuram,” he said. The move down south was necessitated as the government ran out of land in Sriperumbudur and Oragadam. The industrial cluster of Sriperumbudur and Oragadam is home to nearly $5 billion in investments and is often compared to China’s Shenzhen region. Global bigwigs have made this small town, on the fringes of Chennai, their second home. Hyundai, Ford, Nokia, Flextronics, Foxconn, Motorola, Dell, Samsung, Daimler Chrysler, Renault-Nissan, Caparo Group, Moser Baer, Saint Gobain, Natrip, Sanmina, Aspocomp and many more international names are now identified with Sriperumbur and Oragadam. Till 1996, Sriperumbudur, nearly 40 km from Chennai, was considered an isolated stretch of road that one would pass through on the way to Bangalore. The Korean car major Hyundai signing an MoU with the state government to set up a car manufacturing plant here heralded rapid large scale development in this region. In 2009, with absolutely no more land available for investments, the state government has been trying to disperse investments to other locations. “North and north west of Chennai has been a neglected area for some time. Barring the port and related activities, there is nothing much happening there. Sipcot is trying to promote Gummidipoondi region and a couple of big investments are lined up there. The OMR is a ‘clean corridor’(or reserved for IT investments). That leaves us with just GST Road and Bangalore highway,” official sources said. On GST Road, industries have come up on either side of the highway up to Chengalpattu and beyond. On the highway, manufacturing units have sprung up all the way up to Kancheepuram. So, with limited land availability, the state is pushing investments further south.

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