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Andhra Pradesh Govt. Set To Play A New Game
The government of andhra pradesh has realized that change is the only constant phenomenon in nature. It has realized the need to attract investments and promote the industrial scenario in the state. The government of andhra pradesh is set out to change the rules of the game.
In 1974, the Government of Andhra Pradesh mandated the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) to create quality infrastructure for the industrial units, which were planning to make the state their destination. Since the last two decades, APIIC has been trying to promote many specific clusters, like the biotech park, pharma city or the apparel park.

Times changed and so did business models. Over the last few years, public-private partnership has become a much sought after model of development. "We were the pioneers in many ways and the development that we see in Hyderabad like the Cyber Towers, Gateway, Cyber Pearl, Mindspace are a testimony to that." contends B P Acharya, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of APIIC. The private- public partnership which APIIC had taken up has been imitated in many other states in the country.

Staying a step ahead, APIIC has started a major initiative involving the creation of Special Economic Zones. The Government of India policy on SEZs provides an incentive for the industrial units that set up their ventures in the zones.

APIIC has nearly 6000 acres of land in Visakhapatnam and is acquiring another 8000 acres of land. The Gangavarm port apart from Visakhapatnam port will serve the 15,000-acre SEZ, the largest cargo handling port in the country today. Land in the Vizag SEZ will be soon acquired by companies for projects like the HPCL refinery, a mega chemical complex, and a big textile manufacturing company from Colombo among others. Another SEZ is being planned at Kakinada, with the Kakinada port as the anchor, ONGC has already a announced a Rs. 10,000 crore investment including a refinery as huge reserves of gas are available in the KG basin. APIIC will also have a nominal stake in the project and ONGC has indicated that they will need about 10,000 acres of land for the project, for which the land acquisition has begun.

The other initiative at Visakhapatnam is the Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City, set out in about 2,000 acres of land meant to cater exclusively to phrama units, which are into bulk drugs and manufacturing and other related services. With a marine out fall and treatment plants the pharma cluster at Vizag will be the first state of the art project of its kind in the country. It will also house a 450 acre SEZ component exclusively for the Pharma units which are into exports.

Another SEZ is being planned in the hardware park near the new Shamshabad International Airport, close to Hyderabad, which will cater to companies related to information technology, specially those into software development and hardware manufacturing. "Infosys Technologies has been talking to us for about 300 acres of land to house what will be their biggest campus in the country." confirms Mr Acharya. Rahejas are also developing another 250 acres, which will be a part of the Special Economic Zone at hardware park in Mahesh waram and at Pocharam near the Singapore township. With Wipro taking up 100 acres of land on Goppanapalli and Microsoft looking to expand, the cluster in those areas are set to develop further.

A Gems and Jewellery SEZ is being planned in Hyderabad with a private partner for the project. The work for the project will begin in mid November and will attract top gems and jewellery companies from across the world.

APIIC is also looking to promote technology parks in tier two towns in the state like Warangal where IT industry is beginning to take roots with BPO/KPO units. The first two allotments of land has been made at Warangal for this purpose. APIIC is also looking to develop Hindupur which is located just 80 kms from the proposed Bangalore International Airport. APIIC has about 500 acres of land and companies have envinced interest in setting up integrated townships. Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati are also on the APIIC map. Visakhapatnam has already gained enough momentum of its own and has been able to attract IT and ITES companies.

APIIC is even trying to overcome the criticism of neglecting the older, established industrial areas and parks in different parts of the state. The problem lay with the setting of Industrial Area Local Authority (IALA), which was supposed to generate funds on their own and maintain the industrial area. That did not happen and there was a ten-year gap during which the development of these parks suffered. After having realised that this was not working, APIIC has got into the act and has sanctioned about Rs.50 lakh for each industrial area. "The amount is not large, and we are ready to provide additional funding as and when required." adds Mr Acharya.

Andhra Pradesh is also trying to learn lessons about dispersing industrial units in different parts of the state thus ensuring uniform development. Officials are studying the way Maharashtra and Gujarat have gone about it and are trying to see if the models can work here. "Our first priority is to see that we get each of the ventures we have planned to take off in the next few months." adds Mr Acharya. And if that happens, even in a small way, Andhra Pradesh can look forward to being an industrial giant in its own right.
Posted on : 8/11/2005
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