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Put expensive assets created to use...
TAMIL NADU has the reputation of attracting investments in large industrial and infrastructure projects. This was the result of the strong base laid in the 1950s and 1960s by the leadership provided by K.Kamaraj, R Venkataraman and C Subramaniam. The advantage of good infrastructure and the focus on power were big help. Disappointingly, the over-emphasis of the Dravidian parties on the distribution rather than creation of wealth, has dented the reputation of the state. Tamil Nadu has been neglecting power development for two decades and presently is in the midst of a severe power crisis. Post 2000, the IT sector received a big boost. Presently, this appears to have suffered a slowdown. High cost of real estate, compounded by recent huge hike in property tax proposed by the Corporation, are dimming the prospects.

Times of India recently featured several large buildings like the new Secretariat building and the new Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital complex built at a cost of a couple of thousand crores of rupees, kept idle.

The state has several other such issues like the NHAI elevated road project being built along the Cooum River getting stalled. There have been humongous losses suffered on stalling these projects of great value to the metro.

The average citizen is already reeling under the weight of inflation. Items of daily consumption including food, fruits and vegetables, house rent, transportation, power, have all been registering frequent and steep increases. Should the government be insensitive to the burden caused by time overruns, delays and idling of expensive facilities? There is urgent need for a much higher degree of cost economics on the part of policymakers.

Why can’t leverage the strengths of Central projects?

THE STATE has not been supportive of large Central-sector projects that have been making huge contributions to employment and state revenues. BHEL, Neyveli Lignite Corporation and Chennai Petroleum Corporation provide large employment and handsome revenues to the state. In fact, for nearly five decades, Neyveli has been providing cheap power in large volumes. NLC has handsome resources and is financially strong. Its proposal for expansion at Jayamkondam with an investment of over Rs 18,000 crore has been hanging fire for two decades. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal is busy with a Rs 20,000 crore (4000 MW) thermal plant in his constituency Kanpur in UP, with NLC pumping in Rs 6000 crore. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been effectively leveraging the large presence of BHEL in their states to set up joint venture power projects. Unfortunately, such a JV between BHEL and TANGEDCO for setting up a 1600 MW power project at Udangudi was dropped.
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