The Government of Tamil Nadu has now proposed to organize yet another Global Investor’s Meet at Chennai in January,2019, to attract investment in industrial, commercial and service oriented projects in the state.
Earlier, a Global Investor’s Meet was organized in September,2015 and the government claimed that during this conference, Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Tamil Nadu government and prospective investors amounting to an investment of Rs.2.42 lakh crore.
While around Rs. 100 crore was spent in organizing the Global Investor’s Meet in 2015, around Rs.75 crore would be spent in organizing the proposed Meet in 2019.
While several Memorandum of Understanding were signed for investment in 2015 conference, there is no clear announcement so far as to how much of the promised investment really happened. Since it is more than three years now after the 2015 conference, the announced projects should have been completed by now or should be in the advanced stage of implementation. Government of Tamil Nadu has not published any white paper on the actual investments realized, jobs created and status of the projects. Some vague statements have been made with regard to the work in progress but there is no conclusive evidence of the progress made with clear facts and figures.
During the 2015 Investor’s Meet, Nagarjuna Oil Corporation in Cuddalore that was to have an investment of more than Rs. 10,000 crore was announced as the anchor project. However, today, the Petrochemical complex of Nagarjuna Oil corporation has not been commissioned and the company is now facing liquidation proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code.
Another major project that was announced was a large fertilizer complex with natural gas import facility at Tuticorin, with an investment of over Rs. 15000 crore. The promoter of this scheme from Malaysia was given pride of place and received special mention during the conference by the then Chief Minister. Today, nobody knows as to what happened to this project scheme.
It has now become a fashion for the states to organize Global Investors’ Meet from time to time, when prospective investors are invited and given a red carpet welcome.
Most of the proposals submitted during these Investor’s Meet for which Memorandum of Understanding are signed are not based on detailed feasibility study and firm commitment. Tall claims are made after such Meet by the State Chief Minister, which gives considerable space in the media for the Chief Minister but provide no tangible benefits for the state, commensurate with the efforts made and money spent in holding the Meet.
In recent times, several important industrial and scientific projects have been blocked in Tamil Nadu by fringe groups , who claim themselves to be environmental crusaders or social activists and obviously they have vested interests. With such prevailing conditions, the industrial investment climate in Tamil Nadu does not create confidence amongst the investors , who always study various factors with extreme care before taking investment decisions.
The Koodankulam Nuclear Power project was delayed by several years due to protest by the agitators. Gas exploration project in Neduvasal has been given up in the wake of protests by agitators. Now, the Neutrino Project in Tamil Nadu is facing protests and the fringe groups demand that this advanced research project should be scrapped.
The proposed construction of port in Colachal in Kanyakumari district has been opposed and the proposed construction of National Highway between Salem and Chennai is yet another project against which agitation has been organized.
Sterlite Copper Project in Tuticorin has now been ordered to be closed by the Tamil Nadu government due to massive agitation against the project by the activists. Though Sterlite Copper management claims that it has not violated any environmental norms, the government declared that the plant should be shut in the wake of violent agitation.
It is recently reported that Philips Carbon, which earlier considered a proposal to set up a large carbon black project in Tamil Nadu, is now having second thoughts about locating the project in the state due to the negative industrial climate.
When the fate of the industrial projects are decided on the streets by the agitators and motivated protestors, which investor will have the courage to set up project in the state?
No less a person than the Prime Minister of India has said very recently that some extremist groups in Tamil Nadu are spreading false information and preventing the development activities and the growth of the state.
Given this gloomy investment climate in the state and without taking any effective and meaningful steps to prevent agitation by vested interests, efforts of the Tamil Nadu government to organize yet another Global Investor’s Meet is similar to the act of putting the cart before the horse.
It is surprising that the Tamil Nadu government has proposed to organize the Global Investor’s Meet ignoring such ground realities.
One cannot be blamed if it would be suspected that the proposed Global Investor’s Meet would be a wasteful exercise that would provide no tangible results. Why waste money, time and efforts?