Tamilnadu has occupied the second or third place in the industrial map of India ever since independence. This fact can better be explained that other states have not made many speedy strides in the industrial development. The lofty figures of Tamilnadu politics of fifties and sixties who occupied ministerial positions in Tamilnadu and in centre brought many projects to Tamilnadu and encouraged the private entrepreneurs to start industries.
During that period, an industrial estate at Ambattur near Chennai, the biggest one in Asia was started. many ancillary industries set up there helped major industries, Now Tamilnadu is hub of motor vehicle industry.
We cannot say that the subsequent governments did not pay attention on industrial development of Tamilnadu. Their concentration was diverted toward political and social issues of regional character. Though, here and there, a few industrial estates were promoted, they have yielded the desired results. Globalisation brought a few industries to Tamilnadu. But they could not generate enough employment opportunities. Against all these, odds, the development contributed by the individuals in the corruption-ridden atmosphere is laudable. The generation of new era does not look to government for help.
Naturally the industries which offer economic upliftment of the people, bring with the health hazards. The social and health awareness of the masses in the recent years, have erupt into agitation on mass scale. One such agitation was that against ‘Sterlite’ industries at Tuticorin.
The day-to-day atmospheric pollution and slow underground pollution have evoked mass protests to close that industry. Though many safeguards were laid down by Pollution Control Board and Green Tribunal’s orders were not strictly followed by the above said industry. The government has also turned a blind eye. The result was peoples’ movement and consequent untoward incidents.
The demand for closure of industries will vitiate the industrial atmosphere of Tamilnadu. Before any hazardous industry is allowed to lay its footprint, the government must examine all the aspects. Industrial development without all-round social and health awareness is sham. As Tamilnadu is a major agricultural State, the agri-based industries can be encouraged. Further the industries should not be allowed to concentrate around Chennai. They must be spread across the length and breadth of the State especially in Southern districts where land and skilled labour are available.
Even now certain hazardous industries activities are taking places in places where leather based and dyeing based industries. The result will be known after several years, when Tamilnadu struggles for drinking water. Industrial development is of course the order of the day, but hazardous industries which pose threat immediately but after a few years also must not be allowed to function at the expense of the human survival.