Two SEZs do little to address the problem of unemployment
The promise has always been there. But development hasn't come yet. Tirunelveli Lok Sabha constituency is a classic example of the development dilemma that faces southern Tamil Nadu.
Although sanctioned with two Special Economic Zones – Multiproduct Special Economic Zone at Nanguneri and Information Technology Special Economic Zone at Gangaikondan – there is no sign of the SEZs taking off in a big way even after 15 years. Lack of opportunities is driving the educated youth, both skilled and semi-skilled, to move to the metros or the Coimbatore-Tiruppur belt, in search of livelihood.
While the Nanguneri Multiproduct SEZ, for which 2,600 acres of land was acquired in 2001, has less than 10 small manufacturing units, not a single software company has opened office at the IT-SEZ at Gangaikondan even 13 years after its formation. While the industrial estate at Valliyoor is defunct, the MSMEs at the Gangaikondan Industrial Growth Centre function mostly with contract workers from north India.