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Wednesday, Mar 02, 2005

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MEPZ to upgrade infrastructure

Raja Simhan T.E.

Chennai , March 1

WITH new units coming up and existing units expanding operations at a rapid pace inside Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) , Rs 35 crore to Rs 40 crore would be required to upgrade zone's infrastructure, according to Mr B. Vijayan, Development Commissioner, MEPZ.

A master plan is being prepared in this regard.

"We need to act quickly to take care of this massive expansion that is happening inside the zone," he told Business Line.

According to Mr Vijayan, there are around 110 units inside the special economic zone employing over 18,000 labourers, and there is a major impact on infrastructure inside the zone.

"With three or four large units to come up, we hope the number of workers to nearly double in the next couple of years. We need to have necessary infrastructure in place to meet such a huge demand," he said.

Mr Vijayan said with shortage of space inside MPEZ, he was diverting large firms to Mahindra Industrial Park, which is a private special economic zone, to set up units there — in future MEPZ Development Commissioner will also be in charge of the private park.

Further, MEPZ is trying to reallocate 30 acres of land occupied by sick units, which can be retrieved and given to new clients, he said.

"We are talking to owners of sick units and also bankers on this," he said.

According to Mr Vijayan, a few months ago, land was retrieved from Balmer Lawrie, which used to manufacture sea containers but became defunct. Ventura Lighting took two to three acres of land and machinery from Balmer Lawrie.

Pearl Global, a Gurgaon-based garment manufacturer, has also been reallocated 4-5 acres of land, he said. "We are also going to owners of sick units and telling them to either recover the unit or give them to new buyers," he said.

`On the lookout for land outside city'

WITH increased demand for space inside the zone, the MEPZ is looking for additional land outside the city. The additional space could be an extension of MEPZ, Mr Vijayan said.

"We will soon approach the Tamil Nadu Government for additional space. Within MEPZ space is a major concern, and we need to tackle this problem soon," he said.

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