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SIMA facilitating textile processing park in Cuddalore

By V.Jayanth

CHENNAI, MARCH 7. In a bid to bridge the gap in the processing sphere, the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA) is facilitating the setting up of a textile processing park (TPP) on the SIPCOT estate in Cuddalore.

The Tamil Nadu Government industrial development agency has already identified 300 acres for the park in Phase III of the industrial estate with a provision to take up another 800 acres for expansion.

SIMA's initiative comes in the wake of the Sathyam Committee — an expert group set up by the Textiles Ministry to look into the textile chain — identifying weaving and processing segments as the weaker links in the chain. It was only by strengthening these segments that India could move up the value chain to cater for the niche markets, the committee noted.

Tamil Nadu now has 741 processing units, which account for 32 per cent of the capacity in the country. But a study of the units showed that 78 per cent of the capacity in the State are of hand processing units, with another 21 per cent from independent units that undertake batch processing with outdated technology. Only one per cent of the State's capacity come from composite units and SIMA felt that there was need to "consolidate and integrate" the textile chain.

According to the former SIMA president, Manikam Ramaswami, the association had been interacting with the State Government on implementing the TPP and all possible steps were being taken to hasten it, starting with the development of infrastructure facilities. SIMA was also working with the Union Textiles Ministry to get the park included under the Textile Centre Infrastructure Development (TCID) scheme and this had been agreed upon in principle.

He said Gherzi Eastern, Mumbai, has been appointed project consultants. Effluent treatment and discharge would be monitored by an independent authority. Seven units were willing ready to set up processing units and another 10 evinced interest in the park.

SIMA welcomed the Union Finance Minister's announcement of extending the 10 per cent capital subsidy under the Technology Upgradation Fund scheme to the processing sector. This would attract green field projects, which could fill the vacuum in the value chain. While India had a 26 per cent share in the global yarn trade, its share in textiles and clothing was only 3.13 per cent, clearly pointing to the weakness in the weaving and processing segments.

Mr. Ramaswami said that in the post-2004 international textile trade, dramatic changes were expected to make the global retail chains a major force. The retailers would prefer sourcing from "integrated players" to ensure that the sourcing norms were followed and supplies guaranteed on time. "Consolidation could the only way to fulfil the new sourcing norms of the global retailing trade and the Cuddalore project holds promise for this integration."

SIMA was hoping to continue discussions with the State Government and firm up plans for the Cuddalore park, which met the twin objectives of quality water and disposal of effluents at a reasonable cost, without violating the standards. Marine disposal would be an added advantage.

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