“In the absence of fruitful economic activity, both current prosperity and the future growth are in danger of destruction.” – Chanakya, 4th Century B.C.
From time immemorial it has been known that growth and prosperity of any region can only be brought from successful economic activity. Likewise Thoothukudi, being an industrial town, has its economic activity primarily associated with VOC port and the port based industries. The basic fabric of the Thoothukudi economy is woven around industrial development and this has been the course right from the start without any doubt. The town has also been developing along with these industrial units over the years and the livelihood of majority of the people has been dependent on this industrial development climate of Thoothukudi. In today’s scenario, this is being challenged by some misguided NGOs and “out of town” involvement.
Every new industrial unit brings with itself a promise of economic growth and prosperity to that region. The benefits of this growth and prosperity are not limited to the direct employees in that unit but also to several other associated stakeholders, mainly the community at large. In addition to this, the ancillary and associated business units that crop up after a big industry has started operations, acts as the main source of revenue and employment to that region. Thoothukudi’s economy is no different to this reality. Thoothukudi district’s economy has been increasing at a much faster rate than the Tamil Nadu state’s economy itself.
One such associated business is port-based stevedoring businesses carried out to offload and load cargo from or onto vessels reaching Thoothukudi’s VOC port. “More than 250 local families are earning their livelihood through this stevedoring business at Thoothukudi. Recently many large power plants have gone out of active business in this region impacting majorly the local people’s livelihood who were involved in stevedoring, vessel agency, truck/tipper operational businesses, etc. If this continues then there could be a scenario of standstill on Thoothukudi’s current pace of development”, reasons Mr. Celestine – Managing Director, Villavarayar and Sons.
Economic development is always inclusive of individual skill and capabilities of that region, which further assures sustainable future livelihood to the population of that region. Thoothukudi was thriving on industries all along and it is primarily because of the positive industrial climate prevailing in this region that Government of Tamil Nadu is also envisaging development of this region into a flourishing Industrial Hub, which is a welcome measure to develop economy and thereby create means of livelihood for the youth of the region. “Without the industrial development there cannot be port development and subsequently the development of our beloved port city, Thoothukudi” voices out Mr.Karthikeya Prabu, Joint Managing Director – Diamond Shipping Agency Pvt. Ltd.
VOC Port Trust, Thoothukudi, is Tamil Nadu’s 2nd largest port and amongst India’s largest. Even today there is immense focus towards the development of this port from Government side, which is currently being utilized only to 60% of its potential capacity. With the anti-industry climate catching up in South India, there is going to be a big challenge posed in front of the State authorities and people of this region towards the future of this port and this region’s economic development and prosperity.