Union Minister Anant Kumar had confirmed to Dr Subramaniam Swamy that the CIPET headquarters would continue to be in Chennai. In his letter, he has reiterated the “need for establishing additional monitoring mechanism in Delhi to cater to the entire country.”
IE has a long association with CIPET dating back to the late 1960s. In my interview with Brig A F Eugene, the first Director General of CIPET, he explained how CIPET was set up with assistance from the United Nations Development Fund with the International Labour Organisation as the operating agency. The close association of R Venkataraman, the father of industrialisation of Tamil Nadu in the 1950s and the 1960s, with ILO and other UN organizations was instrumental in conceiving a huge future for plastics and the need for developing expertise in meeting the tooling needs. Apart from liberal provision of land and other infrastructure at a vantage point at the Guindy Industrial Estate, RV obtained handsome funding from UNDP. Eugene explained that CIPET’s objective was to be a “training-cum-consultancy cum development institute to assist plastic industries by offering training for the industry engaged in the conversion of plastic raw materials to finished goods.”
In the initial stages, CIPET offered courses in mould design, mould making, and mould polishing. This expanded in quick time to provide courses in mould setting and imparting education in plastics technology for supervisors. The training was an advanced one offered for graduates in mechanical engineering, diploma holders and ITI-trained. CIPET has been offering the training free to upgrade skills among the weaker sections, including SC/ST and backward classes with generous stipends. It has evolved as a globally recognised institute spread over 39 centres across the county, to be expanded further by another 16 centres. Till recently, it has been training 43,000 students a year, which is set to more than double with this expansion.
Anant Kumar’s attempt to shift the CIPET headquarters raises a disturbing question: in this age of communication technology, is there a need to crowd Delhi with another corporate office? In fact, there is a strong case for shifting the headquarters of several of the PSUs and government offices from Delhi to ease the congestion of the capital.
For now, Anant Kumar has confirmed that the government doesn’t plan to shift the headquarters of CIPET from Chennai. But his reference to “the need for establishing additional monitoring mechanism in Delhi also to cater to the entire country,” sounds ominous.