Whether it is IT, manufacturing or services, the message is loud and clear. The industry expects the State Government to live upto its commitment and provide better infrastructure like more land, uninterrupted power supply, significantly improved internet connection and clean beaches for tourism
Throughout 2018, the industrial sector in Goa faced multiple issues, which affected its productivity. The long and agonizing power cuts of May and June severely impacted a number of factories. Road digging between Panaji and Margao made it virtually impossible for people to commute. There were rays of hope primarily in the form of State Cabinet’s nod to Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to repossess 38 lakh square meters of land stuck in special-economic-zone (SEZ) related litigation and the much awaited launch of information-technology (IT) Policy.
In 2019, the industry expects the government to address the issues of power supply, quicken the pace of SEZ land repossession. The IT sector expects the government to improve the pace at which companies are getting registered under the IT policy.
Sandip Bhandare, president, Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), said, “My first expectation from the government in 2019 is that we, as a state, are able to get hold of land stuck in SEZ related issue. Land at Chimbel IT Park and Tuem Electronics City should also be made available to industries.”
Availability of land is one parameters on which Goa falls short of other states of India. To make matters complicated, large chunks of land are yet to be repossessed from SEZ promoters. Since Goa is being marketed as a destination for tech and IT companies, the government will have to make two flagship projects - Chimbel IT Park and Tuem Electronics City – ready for industries to move in.
An IT entrepreneur, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We hope that the process of registration under the IT policy happens at a faster pace. Moreover, we also expect that we should get benefits under the policy from the government for the financial year 2018-19, which will give a lot of visibility for our plans for the next year, 2019-20. We also expect that the quality of internet to improve significantly in this year.”
IT companies can’t get subsidies assured to them under the IT Policy unless they get registered. If they don’t get subsidies, their future plans get affected. This is the reason IT companies want registration and subsidies to happen at a much faster pace so that they have more clarity in 2019. Power cuts in May and June 2018 virtually crippled the industrial sector. Industry leaders had claimed that they had lost 25% of their output in the first 15 days of June 2018 due to power cuts.
Damodar Kochkar, president, Verna Industrial Estate Association, said, “Power is available but problems are happening in the course of getting it to Verna Industrial Estate due to an old conductor. Unless that conductor is changed, power situation here will not improve. Verna Industrial Estate does not have a dedicated sub-station for itself. We hope these problems are taken care of.”
The fact that Verna Industrial Estate does not have a dedicated sub-station paints a sorry picture for the State. Verna Industrial Estate is home to factories of leading national and international brands.
Bhandare continued, “We have adequate power but the problem is with its transmission and that’s the reason we need underground cabling. Replacement of all the transformers is necessary but it will require lot of investment. Issues with power supply, which affected industries badly in 2018, are still not entirely taken care of. I would expect power supply becomes more regular in 2019.”
Industrialists also want GIDC to step up and manage industrial estates a lot more efficiently than it has been doing so far.
Darshan Vani, president, Mapusa Industrial Estate Association, said, “We have lot of expectations from GIDC. For example: the compound wall of our industrial estate is in terrible condition and it needs to be urgently repaired. Then, we need proper gates for entry and exit. All sorts of people enter and park their vehicles in the industrial estate because we don’t have entry and exit points.”
Another issue, which if not handled properly, will wreck havoc for the industrial sector is the proposed diversion of traffic for construction of Zuari Bridge. The State Government will have to divert traffic in a manner, which doesn’t disrupt commuting for workers of Verna Industrial Estate and other people employed in that belt.
Tourism sector has been plagued with all sorts of issues amidst declining tourist footfalls. Garbage can be spotted on so many beaches in the state and beach cleaning is completely ignored. Polly D’Cruz, general manager, The Golden Crown Hotel & Spa in Colva, said, “In 2019, we expect the State Government takes up beach cleaning seriously. Colva Beach is so dirty and Russian tourists are sharing its pictures on travel websites, which is bringing bad name to Goa. Moreover, we also expect the government to focus on other countries apart from Russia to bring foreign tourists to the state.”
Goa has a huge potential from industrial viewpoint but to achieve that potential it is very important that the State Government adopts a professional approach towards providing infrastructure.