THE Tamil Nadu government has indicated that it would continue its efforts to revive electronic manufacturing operations at Nokia’s complex near Sriperumbudur.
In the memorandum she submitted to the Prime Minister during mid-June in New Delhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa discussed state government’s plans to revive Nokia unit.
It is gathered that leading electronic manufacturing firm Foxconn has evinced interest to take over Nokia’s plant, which shut down its operations in November 2014 that led to more than 15,000 direct employees losing their jobs. The hurdle seems to be the freeze of Nokia assets by the Income Tax department of the Centre following tax disputes.
The state government has requested the Centre to de-freeze the assets so that manufacturing operations can re-commence.
“Foxconn has recently come forward to take over and revive the plant. To enable such a takeover, the Government of India would have to facilitate the de-freezing of Nokia’s assets, frozen by an order of the Delhi High Court in an Income Tax case, by arranging for the proceeds of the sale/lease transaction to be paid into a separate escrow account to meet the final tax liabilities. Such a course of action will ensure that the existing plant is utilised, jobs restored to thousands of persons and production commenced immediately,” she said in the memorandum.
A top state government official pointed out that machinery and everything is in good condition to commence operations immediately. With favourable operating environment, Foxconn sees many advantages in reviving Nokia unit, which is a well-established unit that was making half a million phones a day. So, if the Centre de-freezes the assets, the unit can restart the operations and other component suppliers will also come,” he said.
Revival of Nokia operations will go a long way in creating jobs at a time when governments are criticised for not doing enough for new job creation. Also, Sriperumbudur has a well-developed eco-system for electronic manufacturing that is on par with global standards.