The government of Tamil Nadu is getting good at the cleanup job. But are they throwing the baby with the bathwater? The textile industry and the fireworks industry have almost come to a grinding halt. The recent closure of Sterlite is another great example. Instead of mediating between businesses and the activist groups the Tamil Nadu government has been taking the easy way out by succumbing to populist pressure. This is not going to help in the long run and in the short run.
The restrictions on the limestone mining Industry has affected the Cement Industry. Cement production has come down to one-third of what was produced earlier. Cement prices have inevitably gone up. You can’t be transporting cement over long distances as the price go up further. Chennai, the state’s capital and where most of the capacity building happens may choose to buy cement from neighboring Andhra Pradesh because of the hiked Cement prices in Tamilnadu. Cement factories have announced layoffs and no new recruitments are happening.
The indirect ban on the Beach Mining Industry has taken a heavy toll on the employment in the southern districts. Since the transport ban imposed ostensibly for inspection was initiated in 2013 around 50,000 people have lost their jobs. The placer mining industry, a major recruiter of fresh ITI trainees, Engineering diploma holders and Engineering graduates from various disciplines, obviously are not recruiting anymore. A plethora of jobs in allied areas like logistics, maintenance, material handling, forwarding was affected. This has taken the toll on the admissions of the Engineering Institutions and many Engineering Colleges are facing the danger of getting closed.
Many allied Industries that were linked to the mining Industry have also either downscaled or shut down their operations. Typical examples are abrasive industries and small-scale paint industries. The chain of industries that cropped up based on the buying potential of the people employed in various industries have also borne the brunt. A typical example is the hotel industry and vehicle sales/service Industry.
Tamilnadu was a traditional supplier of important minerals like Garnet, Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon and Titanium Dioxide, which is used in the manufacture of paints. Neighboring states like Kerala, Andra, Orissa don’t seem to have any problem with this industry. In fact, Andra is planning expansion to take advantage of the ban in Tamil Nadu. The irony is that recently Ilmenite was imported from the neighboring Srilanka for manufacturing Titanium dioxide despite our having huge reserves of Placer minerals here in TN.
In Tamilnadu, Sugarcane Industry is not allowed to produce Ethanol or motor spirit citing the reason it may be consumed for intoxication. Motor spirit, when mixed with petrol like fuels and used reduces the cost of motor fuel. Another big benefit is for the sugar cane industry who can reap direct benefits by selling Ethanol. The ban on ethanol production while not helping the sugar cane Industry has also taken away the employment of hundreds of people. Developed countries like the USA give up to 50 percent subsidy for setting up Ethanol production since it is clean fuel rather we have blockades in TN.
China announced its first targeted timeline for use of ethanol in gasoline by 2020. This was not only to reduce pollution but also to boost the demand for stockpiled corn. The Govt of India has made it mandatory to implement a 20% methanol blend in petrol. Foreign exchange savings to the tune of $6.12 billion can be achieved if the targeted 20% ethanol mix in transportation fuel is achieved. Yet the Tamil Nadu has not only been lax in implementing this but have set several roadblocks to make sure that this does not happen.
Strange it may sound; all these typical bans are instituted only here in Tamil Nadu while in almost all the neighboring states it is legal to do mining or produce ethanol.
The above-cited examples are only to mention a few and there are many of them that do not find a mention here. The state/central governments and other agencies, if not able to do anything that will improve the education and industry in Tamil Nadu may at least refrain from taking away whatever is established through hard work by the local people. They must realize by initiating mindless bans and promulgating irrational strictures the society at large suffers.