TN footwear SEZ trips on labour woes

Written by Kavitha Venkatraman | Chennai | Updated: Sep 12 2010, 04:46am hrs
The footwear and leather products SEZ at Irungattukottaipromoted by the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT)has been languishing since its inception, owing to the lukewarm response from firms scheduled to set up shop there.

Of the 101.55 acre to be allotted, out of the total 153.68 acre, the state government undertaking has so far managed to allot only 15 acre to the Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) for setting up a centre and a one-acre plot to a leather goods manufacturing company.

Though the project is located close to the footwear component park, it has failed to attract investments from leather manufacturing units. SIPCOT still has to allot 85.55 acre to companies which wish to set up their footwear and other leather products production units despite the fact that units which operate within the SEZ are eligible for several incentives.

A leather exporter told FE, Leather is a very labour-intensive industry. The park at Irungattukottai is not very attractive to manufacturers because of the non availability of labour in and around that area. Irungattukottai and the surrounding areas have developed very fast in the recent past because many manufacturing units across various sectors have set up their base there and have attracted talent, he said. These days, no one is willing to travel for a few hours every day to eke out a living. So, sourcing manpower is difficult and on the other hand, it would not be sustainable in the long run, he added. It is necessary that the state government takes a relook at these business initiatives. We should identify areas where labour is available and simultaneously build necessary infrastructure for the benefit of the industry, he said.