Will Mysore’s proposed Industrial Township Authority become a reality?

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MYSORE, November 5:  There is a question mark on the fate of the Industrial Township Authority for Mysore, ever since Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reneged on the Congress’ promise to constitute ‘Greater Mysore’.

Though the two are not linked, constitution of Greater Mysore was one of the pre-poll promises made by the Congress, and it has now been given a burial. Likewise, bringing all industries in and around Mysore under the Industrial Township Authority was the second major promise, which was included in the city-specific election manifesto. Questions are now being raised on whether the Congress will do a u-turn on the Industrial Township Authority as well.

A long-pending demand of stakeholders, the Industrial Township Authority is expected to streamline administration and development of industrial layouts on the outskirts of the city.

Members of Mysore Industries Association (MIA), Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other bodies have been spearheading the cause for the township authority for the last few years, on the grounds that the local civic authorities have ignored development of industrial layouts and do not comprehend its dynamics.

“Though industries pay taxes to local authorities, civic amenities by way of streetlights, better roads, water, drainage and so on are not up to the mark,” according to Suresh Kumar Jain, general secretary of the MIA.

But, if the Industrial Township Authority was notified, then a separate administrative body — which will represent local industrialists — will govern industrial areas like Metagalli, Hootagalli, Hebbal, and Belawadi, among others, and they will come out of the purview of local civic bodies. This will ensure focussed development of industrial areas, said Mr. Jain.

For stakeholders, it will also end the scourge of dealing with multiplicity of authorities, from seeking licences to various clearances and remittance of fee.

A single-window agency would be put in place that will obviate the need for entrepreneurs to seek clearances from 34 departments to begin operations, as required at present.

The other argument in favour of the Industrial Township Authority includes the prospects of better power management and dedicated water supply for industrial areas to enhance productivity. There are nearly 2,000 industries — micro, small, medium and large — in these layouts and though the industrial areas employ thousands of people, local authorities supply untreated raw water for industrial purpose which is unfit for human consumption. “Most factories make alternative arrangements for drinking water supply,” said another member of the MIA.

Incidentally, the Mysore City Corporation council had opposed a demand from a public sector unit for additional 3 lakh litres of water a day a few years ago as the councillors feared that it would have a negative effect on drinking water supply in residential areas of the city.

Stakeholders had also apprised district in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad of the imperatives of constituting the Industrial Township Authority for the comprehensive development of industrial areas.

Incidentally, the MIA and other industrial bodies had opposed Greater Mysore on the grounds that they would be administered by the MCC, which would collect taxes but would not provide any amenities as funds collected would be diverted for providing amenities in residential areas where the voters were concentrated.

Although thousands of people are employed in industrial areas on the outskirts of Mysore, a majority of them reside in the city and hence the local authorities create facilities in residential areas where the vote bank is concentrated. “As stakeholders, we prefer coming under the Industrial Township Authority rather than the local body,” said Mr. Jain.

Whether elected representatives will let go of a vast swathe of area from their administrative ambit and taxation purview remains to be seen.

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