Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor to boost growth

By Papri Sri Raman, IANS

Chennai : With plans for a bullet train, a six-lane highway and an extension of the metro rail from Chennai to Bangalore to bring the two cities closer, a proposal to develop an industrial corridor between the two fast-growing cities is expected to give a further fillip to economic growth in southern India.

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The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Thursday welcomed the proposed corridor, mooted by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi to the prime minister on the lines of an industrial corridor planned between Delhi and Mumbai. Under its City Connect programme, the CII has held several discussions with senior officials of the Tamil Nadu government to develop the new corridor.

“The Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor would go a long way in tapping the potential of the two states to attract investment and help creation of a skilled workforce,” Gopal Srinivasan, chairman of the CII’s Tamil Nadu Council, said.

“The establishment of such an intra-state corridor would ensure inclusive, sustainable and balanced regional growth,” he added.

“Intra-state corridors also help facilitate the convergence of industry verticals. The Bangalore-Chennai corridor would give the much needed impetus to niche areas and help in the promotion of engineering services in a big way, apart from effectively leveraging the strengths of the IT and electronics industry in south India,” he pointed out.

Sriperumbudur, to the west of Chennai, is already the most industrialised zone in Tamil Nadu with an array of top automobile majors and other MNCs setting up their manufacturing bases. Sriperumbudur and Chennai are home to 110 automobile and ancillary industries. Tamil Nadu exports auto components worth about $250 million per year.

The government has allocated Rs.3 billion to upgrade two key highways – the industrial artery to Sriperumbudur which is destined to become a six-lane highway and the Rajiv Gandhi Road or the Old Mahabalipuram Road, now known as Chennai’s IT highway, says Tamil Nadu’s industry secretary Shaktikanta Das.

The Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) has submitted a detailed development plan to the Ministry of Railways for rail connectivity to Sriperumbudur, about 80 km from here.

Approval for a railhead near Sriperumbudur, linking it with south Chennai, and a second line to access Ennore and Chennai ports are in the offing. Two other roads are being made to link SEZs in the Sriperumbudur-Kancheepuram area with the airport.

A third rail line is to link technology parks and IT companies like TCS, Satyam and Wipro along the Rajiv Gandhi Road to Siruseri, a fast-emerging SEZ.

In the offing is also the Rs.50.6 billion Chennai Metro Project to link Chennai to Sriperumbudur.

Mahindra World City, 30 km from Chennai airport, is monitored by the MEPZ and has about 80 companies including the TVS Group and BMW. The companies here hope to export products worth Rs.80 billion by 2012.

Chennai airport is south India’s largest airport with more than 270 passenger flights and more than 30 cargo flights out of it every week.

Tamil Nadu has been lobbying for a bullet train between Bangalore and Chennai, 450 km apart, for some years. At present, it takes about four hours by train to travel between the cities.