Tamil Nadu government to soon come up with action plan for development of tech cities: Minister


The Tamil Nadu government will soon come up with an action plan for the development of tech cities in the State, a proposal that were announced earlier this year, said Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services, Tamil Nadu, Palanivel Thiaga Rajan.

Inaugurating an event, Connect Coimbatore 2023, themed on ‘AI-led Business Transformation – Vision to Reality,’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Thursday, the Minister said land has been identified for the project (in Coimbatore. It will be a self-contained complex with residential, commercial, retail, office and entertainment spaces. The tech cities will be developed via public-private partnership models, and “very soon we will come up with an action plan” for the project, he said.

Coimbatore is growing rapidly in the IT sector, and there are reports of shortages of land and building space. The ELCOT facility coming up here, spanning 2 lakh sq.ft will be ready soon, and the process of identifying occupants is on.

Coimbatore airport expansion

Regarding the expansion of Coimbatore International Airport, Mr. Thiaga Rajan said land acquisition had been completed, and an agreement needed to be signed for handing over of the land, but this is pending.

Explaining further, he said, when the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was the only agency that could build airports in the 1970s, then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had said Tamil Nadu would give land free of cost, if AAI built an airport for the State. But over the decades, the cost of land has overtaken the cost and complexity of developing airports. So, the policy needed a rethink. What triggered the rethink when the DMK came to power was the Government of India announcing a list of airports for privatisation, including Tiruchi and Coimbatore, when the State government was acquiring land for the expansion of these airports.

The State government had allocated huge funds to acquire not only private and government land but also Defence land at market rates from the Government of India to give to AAI. But since the airports were to be privatised, the State government decided that it would only lease out the land to AAI, if AAI would run the airport. If the airport was to be run by a private player, the State would ask for fair compensation for the land as the land belonged to the people and government.

“All we are waiting for now is, a reasonable contract. At some level, as much as we promote growth we need to ensure that people’s resources stay with the people or government,” he said.

In his address, Shankar Vanavarayar, chairman of CII – Tamil Nadu, said Coimbatore had all the strengths needed to become an IT hot spot.

Mahalingam Ramasamy, chairman of Connect Coimbatore 2023, said AI had huge potential, but could also cause disruptions. The Central government is launching a national programme for AI, he added

Chairman of CII – Coimbatore, K. Senthil Ganesh, said the CII has prepared a report to enhance investments in Coimbatore in the IT sector and to further diffuse innovations. The report was submitted to the Minister at the inaugural of the conference.


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