Yesterday (12 October), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami signed 14 memoranda of understanding (MoU) that would attract investments worth over Rs 10,000 crore and provide employment to at least 7,000 persons.
This is the second time in five months that the Tamil Nadu government has signed such an MoU.
Earlier, on 27 May, the State government had signed 17 MoUs with an objective of attracting investments of over Rs 15,000 crore and generating about 47,500 jobs.
Then, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government that efforts were on to develop new manufacturing clusters.
It said that the State had come up with a new investment policy targeting the electronics sector.
The MoUs signed yesterday, in that sense, are a little different. These MoUs have been signed with an eye on the southern parts of the State.
Besides southern parts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, and Ramanathapuram, projects will also come up in the central part of Tiruvannamalai district and in Chennai’s neighbouring Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts.
This is politically significant as it is an effort to woo the people of southern Tamil Nadu towards the AIADMK since it had fared poorly in these areas in the 2016 State Assembly elections as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The other aspect of the MoUs signed was that they cover wind, solar, and the food processing sectors, with a chunk of the investment (Rs 6,300 crore) coming for setting up of a hybrid renewable energy project by JSW Renew Energy Limited.
JSW will set up plants with a total capacity to produce 810 MW of power in Tuticorin, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, and Tiruppur.
It will also set up a 50 MW captive wind energy project in Rameswaram. This project will likely provide employment to about 2,500 persons. JSW had committed itself to the project as it had been mentioning this in the past. Now that it has signed the MoU, it is going ahead to put its words into action.
There are yet a few other significant projects in the MoUs signed yesterday.
One is the project to set up an electric vehicles battery packs manufacturing unit, by Li Energy, at a cost of Rs 300 crore. It goes well with Tamil Nadu’s policy to promote the production of electric vehicles.
The second is the MoU signed by Counter Measures Technologies to invest Rs 51 crore. Counter Measures Technologies has got a licence to produce firearms and ammunition. Its project will be established in the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.
The third is the project of South Korea’s Hyundai Wai — which produces machine tools, industrial machines, automobile parts and defence industry products — which is planning to invest Rs 109 crore and expand its facility at Sriperumbudur.
Along with this, Apollo Tyres, which has a factory at Sriperumbudur, has plans to invest Rs 500 crore to expand its facility.
These both confirm the fact that Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai’s neighbouring districts Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu, continue to be on the priority list of the automobile industry.
Singapore’s Vans Chemistry will invest Rs 50 crore in a precious metals refining project that will be an e-waste management facility for dismantling and recycling.
It will also provide employment to 750 persons.
Also, US firm TPI Composites plans to expand its wind blades manufacturing facility at Oragadam near Chennai with an investment of Rs 300 crore.
Though the MoUs look promising in as much as tapping the State’s potential and providing employment opportunities are concerned, what will matter is the actual realisation of the investment assured.
According to observers, not all the assured investments take place, while officials argue that even if 10 per cent of the investments are made, it will make a difference.
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