SEZ issue: Karunanidhi hits out at Ramadoss

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Chennai, May 3: Joining issue with Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder-leader S Ramadoss, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today accused him of posing hurdles in creating Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and setting up new industries in the state.

Answering a set of queries posed by the PMK leader, questioning the industrial policy of the State Government, the Chief Minister said the DMK Government, in the last two years, had helped to provide employment to 37,499 people in the industrial section and 1,26,610 in the IT sector, braving all odds. The Chief Minister said the Government, after coming to power in May 2006, had signed MoUs with 13 companies, of which six had commenced production and six others had started civil work.

On Dr Ramadoss' suggestion that the Government should pursue a policy to foster industrial development and generate employment, Mr Karunanidhi said keeping this in mind, the Government was taking steps, but Dr Ramadoss was posing hurdles whenever the Government wanted to create SEZs or start industries.

How could it be possible for the Government to start industries and provide employment to the youths, if the PMK leader opposed the creation of SEZs in the city and allowing ''Tatas, Kishores and Guhas'' to set up industries in the State, he asked.

On the PMK leader's suggestion that the Government should encourage starting industries in the backward districts, he said when the Government desired to start industries in the backward Tuticorin district and create a SEZ in Hosur, Dr Ramadoss had opposed them.

Karunanidhi said the Government wanted to start industries in the backward districts and it was for this purpose that it had constituted a commission, headed by former Supreme Court Judge S Rathinavel Pandian. However, industrialists should also be willing to start industries in the backward districts, when the Government invited them with a slew of concessions, he said.

When the Tatas wanted to start a Titanium project in the backward Tuticorin district, Dr Ramadoss had opposed it. Thanks to the agitation launched by the PMK, the project was yet to come up there and thousands of local youths, who had the opportunity to get employment, remained jobless, the Chief Minister said.

While some industrialists came forward to set up industries in the backward districts, others preferred to set up industries near the city, involving investments ranging from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore, Mr Karuananidhi said.

If the Government denied them permission, they were willing to move out to neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, which were ready to roll out a red carpet welcome for them, he pointed out.


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