September 28, 2019
The Union Government’s decision to extend the Chennai-Bengaluru industrial corridor from Coimbatore to Kochi can boost manufacturing. Units in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Salem can have better access to Kochi Port’s international transhipment facilities
The Union Government’s decision to extend the Chennai-Bengaluru industrial corridor to Coimbatore and from there to Kochi should come as a boon not just for Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore and neighbouring Tirupur in particular), but also neighbouring Kerala as well, making the entire stretch a major manufacturing hub of South India.
The announcement of the extension of the corridor by the National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust, should enthuse the businesses and traders alike on both sides across the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border.
Alongside this, comes the announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her third media briefing recently, about boosting exports. She had said that as part of prompting exports, there would be leveraging of technology to ensure reduced turnaround time at ports and airports.
She pointed to the case of Kochi Port, which had a turnaround of 1.1 days and also the best in the country, though it was far below the 0.5 days at Boston port and 0.8 at the Shanghai one. Physical and manual clearances would be done away with by December 2019, she had said.
Kochi is the nearest port for exports from Coimbatore and garments and knitwear from Tirupur. Coimbatore is the strongest industrial base which supports the Kochi Port in terms of cargo, was what Cochin Port Trust chairperson K Beena had said very recently.
Once through, the corridor would be a boon for industry in Coimbatore and Tirupur, the latter for exports, through the Kochi port.
The Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) is one of the five industrial corridors coming up in the country. The CBIC will come up along Chennai, Sriperumbudur, Ponnapanthangal, Ranipet, Chittoor, Bangarupalem, Palamaner, Bangarpet, Hoskote and Bengaluru, with the addition now of Coimbatore and Kochi.
The decision to extend the corridor had been the result of continuous pressure from the Kerala Government. This extension is being developed as part of the national industrial corridor.
An Integrated Manufacturing Cluster (IMC) is also going to be developed as part of the corridor, with the first one in Salem in Tamil Nadu and the other one in Palakkad.
The IMCs are part of the Central Government’s initiative to increase the basic facilities of industries. They are expected to attract investments, especially from the private sector. These IMCs are being considered as part of the next phase of the Special Economic Zones of the Union Government.
The industrial corridor from Coimbatore to Kochi via Palakkad should help in expanding manufacturing base in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This would be hastened by the rail network and the natural gas pipeline, work on which is currently in progress.
The expectation is that once the industrial corridor and accompanying clusters are through, manufacturing can spread to other areas, create high-end jobs, and substantially improve quality of life. Kerala alone expects creation of at least 10,000 direct jobs. The number would be higher for Coimbatore and Salem combined. This should make the area a major manufacturing hub in the South.