Yet another industrial unit that might have provided job
opportunities for a few hundreds has eluded the Kerala
coast with Tata Steel signing an agreement with its consortium
partners for setting up a titania project in Tamil Nadu.
consortium partners who signed with Tamil Nadu are from
Finland, USA and Germany. With a vast stretch of mineral-rich
sand beaches in Kerala, what made the Tatas turn to Tamil
Nadu is a case study for the planners and decision-makers
of the state.
person who is most saddened by the Tata group decision
is Jiji Thomson, former secretary of the industries department
of the Kerala state government. Thomson, the main brain
behind the Global Investors'' Meet (GIM), was so shocked
by the turn of events.
he says, has the potential and scope to exploit the mineral-rich
sands in the western coastline. "I consider this
development of the Tatas looking towards the Tamil Nadu
coast for the titania project as the indecisiveness on
the part of our leadership."
lists a number of reasons for investors thinking thrice
before making any overtures to the offers made by Kerala.
"Instead of asking what is wrong with our system,
we should ask what is right here. Had we moved with a
sense of dedication and devotion, no doubt, this project
might have come to Kerala," says Thomson.
non-resident Indian familiar with the system of Kerala
will hesitate to invest in the state. "Even after
explaining everything in detail, investors are sceptical
to deal with the leadership. Uncertainty happens to be
our hallmark," laments Thomson, who has a number
of incidents to tell, starting from the fiasco of the
Kochin Industrial Drinking Water Scheme and the Skybus
system because of a liberal dose of politics.
do not know the reason. You may better ask the principal
secretary [industries] or someone in that level. There
was a proposal to have the plant at Chavara. Then for
such things to happen, you have to talk with the Tatas
and convince them about your capability," says V
Ramachandran, deputy chairman, state planning board.
plant is expected to come up at Tuticorin. With the Kerala
state still under the GIM hangover, the neighbouring Tamil
Nadu worked a miracle by convincing the Tatas about the
scope of setting up a unit in that state.
S Kartha, a senior financial analyst based in Kerala,
refuses to term the titania project as a coup carried
out by Tamil Nadu. "It is the result of some hard
work done by the TN administration. The Tatas might have
understood the sincerity of the TN administration and
the bureaucracy and there is nothing more than that. Had
we too worked like that, the plant might have become a
symbol of the beginning of a new era in Kerala."
if the words of these two are to be believed, the powers-that-be
in the state have to do a lot of explaining in days to
come on the Tata group''s new venture eluding the Kerala
were reports that Volkswagen, the German car giant, was
all set to open shop in Kerala. The manufacturers of the
world-famous Beetle and Polo cars chose Vishakapattanam
in Andhra Pradesh as the hub of their Asian activities.