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'No scope for IT industry in Tamil Nadu'

ETB Shivapriyan in Chennai | January 09, 2009 17:52 IST

Tamil Nadu, the country's third largest IT services exporter, on Friday said it no longer needed investments in the sector and instead asked non-resident Indians to pump in money in manufacturing, be it even for brick kilns.

"There is no scope for IT industry in Tamil Nadu. I am telling you the facts. Don't invest in the sector and waste your money," state Power Minister Arcot N Veerasamy told an interactive session with NRIs and Persons of Indian-Origin at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Chennai.

The economic meltdown in the West has triggered the collapse of the IT services industry in the state, he said, noting that "over 50 per cent of software companies... (in the city's IT corridor) have closed down after the incident."

"I am telling you people (NRIs) don't invest in the IT sector. If you want, you can invest in other sectors like steel, cement, automobiles, electronics hardware and even brick industry," he said.

The IT industry has lost its scope, the Minister said, leaving the bureaucrats embarrassed and possibly affecting investment opportunities.

"The state does not need any more investments in the IT sector. The entire industry has been affected after the American incident (global financial meltdown)," he said. He further said the industry was flourishing four years back, but now it has lost its scope.

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The IT portfolio is held by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in the state and Tamil Nadu has always been in the forefront in reaching out to almost all the software companies in the world to set up hubs in the state.

Former Union IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran played a major role in bringing more software industries to Chennai and other cities in the state.

The IT corridor on Old Mahabalipuram Road, which was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Salai, is a 30-km stretch which houses almost all the software companies in the city.

Though the bureaucrats tried to control the damage, the Minister again intervened and stressed that the state no more needed IT investments.

"We are willing to help you out if you want to invest in Tamil Nadu. Invest in sectors other than IT like automobile, steel, cement, leather, textile, paper, cement and even the stone and brick industry," he said.

However, Veerasamy said "it depends on what industry you want to invest." To control the damage done by the Minister, IT secretary Davidar said the state was interested in encouraging the IT and ITeS industries and asked the NRIs to invest in the sector.

The minister also urged NRIs to invest in sectors like automobile, electronics and hardware, leather, textile, paper, cement, steel and bricks, saying for the next 25 years these industries will not witness any slowdown.

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