The industrial estate was formed in 1985 by TIIC in corporation with the Housing Board and the then Madras Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) which is now called Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). However, V. Rajappan, the long-running President of the Mogappair Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association said this venture has miserably failed over the years mainly due to the habitual apathy of the various government agencies in addition to the unfavourable market conditions.
Rajappan foresees very weak future outlook and he thinks it will take another year or so for the market to turn industry friendly. So, what exactly went wrong with this industrial project? “Normally industrial estates have been developed by SIDCO, but it was the first initiative by TIIC has resulting the project become an absolute orphan with no one to look up to. SIDCO has nothing to do with it, TIIC’s stand is that they are only the financiers and MMDA says it’s just the developer while housing board remains to be a partner in handing over the project. As all these agencies wash their hands off the project, the development of the project becomes nobody’s business.”
“It’s only by the continuous perseverance of the association with the state government and the local authorities have brought some sort of infrastructural facilities in the estate. However, the facilities have never been up to its requirement. We do not have proper drainage system, interior roads have not been developed for the last 13 years, however we are still persuading the authorities,” Rajappan said.
Although the industrial estate employs nearly 4000 to 5000 people, of which a majority are women, the local authorities show no interest in the project. The industrial area has become a corporation now; however, it still comes under the control of the Thiruvallur collector, but not under the Chennai collector.
The industrial association is at its all-time low currently. It had over 160 units spread over a wide variety of industries including plastic, container, packaging, cardboard, paint, printing, fabrication, machining, automobile etc flourishing in businesses. The industries could survive two recessions, in 1998 and 2003; however, 2012-13 was the worst phase. The number of units came down to 80-90. Like many others, Rajappan also had to close down his engineering manufacturing unit which he was running successfully for the last 40 years. For the first time in the history, the industries here are left with no orders from the large scale manufactures. “The political uncertainties have caused this trouble and it affects everyone but small and tiny scale industries stand the most vulnerable. It’s a vicious circle. The tiny scale industries gets the order from small scale business, small business does the work of large scale industries and the large industries get the order from government or other big projects directly or indirectly associated to government agencies. When the large scale industries do not receive such projects or get delayed in approvals, they incur huge loses and that directly affects us. It has grown to a phase where in 2012-13, the turnover is not even the one-third for the industry here,” Rajappan said.
According to the regulations, there should not be residences in and around 100 meters around the industries. Since the industrial estate is not governed by SIDCO, all the rules have been compromised. The industries came in the 1980s and residential occupation started in 2000s. Despite this, the association had to fight it out with the residence in the court to continue with our units here. “We demand the government to allow those industries facing the main road to use their property for commercial purposes. We should be allotted industrial pots outside as well by SIDCO or MMDA. We are also asking the government to give incentives to the struggling members, the banks should reduce the interest rates, at least for 2012-13, and allow payment s in instalments,” the president said.
The industry owners in Mogappair are gazing hopelessly at the future of their business prospects as industry veterans and experts predict that the situation is unlikely to improve until 2013-14. They say a favourable turn around can only be expected after the 2014 general elections.
At least those industries facing the main road should be allowed to use their property for commercial purposes. We should be allotted industrial pots outside as well by SIDCO or MMDA. We are also asking the government to give incentives to the struggling members, the banks should reduce the interest rates, at least for 2012-13, and allow payment s in instalments.