Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Apr 16, 2005
Industry & Economy
More industrial clusters coming up in Kerala
Mony K. Mathew
Thiruvananthapuram , April 15
THE State Government, which has embarked on an industrial cluster programme and has already put in place a couple of them, is developing more sector-specific clusters across the State.
More than two dozens of clusters, covering industries ranging from garments and gold ornaments to ethnic foods, are at various stages of being developed, according to officials of the Industries Department.
The Department is vigorously pursuing the programme drawing strength from the success of the rubber cluster in Kottayam and the coir cluster in Alappuzha districts. The Kottayam rubber cluster features nearly 400 tiny and small industries manufacturing low-tech products such as tread rubber, rubberised coir mats, footwear materials, rubber bands and tyre flaps.
A raw material bank and a common facility centre comprising a Rs 3.5-crore central mixing plant form part of the cluster.
The coir cluster in Alappuzha district, at present, has 200 consortia consisting of 3,100 small and tiny enterprises. It has provided employment to 2,200 women through 600 micro enterprises.
The new initiatives include garment clusters in Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam and Kasaragod districts, diamond and tile clusters in Thrissur district, plywood and tread rubber clusters in Ernakulam district and an agricultural implements cluster in Palakkad district.
As a prelude to developing a rice mill cluster at Kalady in Ernakulam district, a consortium of 35 entrepreneurs has already been registered. The establishment of a rice bran oil extraction unit, an effluent treatment plant, a laboratory for testing and research and development and a common packing unit are some of the major facilities planned for the cluster.
In the area of ethnic foods, a consortium has been registered in Kozhikode with 38 halwa manufacturers based there. The main aim of the consortium is standardisation of the product and technology upgradation and it is setting up a mini industrial estate exclusively for halwa manufacturers.
The Kerala Bureau for Industrial Promotion has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Central Food Technology and Research Institute , Mysore for technical assistance for the cluster. An ethnic food cluster is also in the offing at Karipode village in Palakkad district where there are around 300 families traditionally engaged in producing "rice murukku" as cottage industry.
A handloom cluster is coming up in Kannur where four consortia have been formed for the purpose. The consortia are planning to put out innovative and trendy designs as also to create new marketing networks. The Indian Institute of Management , Kozhikode has been entrusted with the task of brand building for the handloom products.
In Thiruvananthapuram district, a group of people engaged in the manufacture of silk fabric at Balaramapuram has registered a consortium, namely, Kerala Handloom Silk Consortium Ltd. The main objective of the consortium is setting up of a common facility centre for pre-looming activities such as reeling, twisting, de-gumming and dyeing.
At present, these processes are done in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Other clusters being developed are for cane and bamboo in Thiruvananthapuram, food products in Pathanamthitta, leather in Kottayam, printing and plastics in Ernakulam and PVC footwear and general engineering in Kozhkode.
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