With the pervasive smell of salt and fish, the Pearl City holds a huge potential for investment and the VOC Port is likely to play a key role in this. VOC Port has been acting as a catalyst in industrialisation of southern Tamil Nadu. To keep pace with the times, CII wants infrastructure of the city to be developed on a par with Colombo so as to attract the global shipping industry.
A study by CII says that investments to the tune of Rs 45,350 crore is needed across key sectors in Thoothukudi district by 2023 in order to address gaps in connectivity, social and civic infrastructure, infrastructure for industries as well as agriculture and allied sectors.
Connected by airport, land as well as sea besides having Tamirabharani river to fulfill drinking water needs, the area has abundant land suitable for industry. Ligi George, past chairman of CII, Madurai Zone, says the city should be provided with large and quality hotels matching those in Colombo, which is the preferred destination for international shipping industry as well as crew.
“The whole region should undergo a massive change in infrastructure. There should also be hotels as well as active night life to attract the crew,” he says. The region also lacks quality educational institutions like IIT or IIM besides facing drinking water issues. CII feels that a desalination plant must be set up there. It is suggested that efforts should be made for an entertainment park or developing adventure sports on the lines of Goa.
The CII report also proposes to develop Thoothukudi as an automotive hub by developing Thoothukudi sea port to export cars. The initiative has already begun with the Centre sanctioning investment of around Rs 7,500 crore during Phase I of the proposed development of the VOC Port.