‘BJP-DMK slugfest over Kovai blast may take toll on growth’
CHENNAI: Industrialists, particularly in the garment sector in Tirupur cluster, are feeling the heat over the political slugfest between the ruling DMK and the state BJP over the October 23 car blast in Ukkadam at Coimbatore.
They have raised concerns that the war of words could end up portraying the region as an unsafe environment leading to movement of migrant labourers to other industrial areas, besides drop in international clientele.
A number of industrialists recalled how it took several years post the 1998 serial blasts in Coimbatore for the industries to revive. “Fortunately, a similar attack was averted now. Such incidents will result in losing the confidence of international clients as well as the workforce,” an industrialist, on condition of anonymity, said.
However, he quickly pointed out that the ongoing tussle between the ruling party in the state and Tamil Nadu BJP was playing a spoilsport for the sector and it will hit in more than one way if the spat continues at the same pace. “State-level political leaders and Ministers issuing various statements will act against the welfare of the industry and ultimately lead to job loss,” he cautioned.
“When orders from European countries and the US for Christmas are underwhelming due to the Russia-Ukraine war and economic recession in the US, the ongoing war of words between the political parties will cause further damage to the labour intensive sector. The political parties should act responsibly, while the government should ensure a conducive ecosystem for the growth of the industries,” said a member of Tirupur Exporters Association. The police and government machinery should put an end to the conspiracy theories based on the alleged IS module car blast.
He reflected the views of the sector, which accounts for an annual business of around Rs 60,000 crore and employs around six lakh workers. It was high time, the leaders of the political parties act responsibly for the welfare of the industry, labourers and the society, the member added.
Another industrialist said that though the incident has not drawn international attention as of now, holding protests or the continuing political tussle will result in a panic situation. “We are caught as pawns between the two political parties,” said an entrepreneur in Coimbatore.
An industrialist pointed out new IT firms were arriving in Coimbatore and the present situation will not send cordial signals for the sector.
K Venkatesan of Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association said it is the duty of the state government to take up confidence building measures after such an incident in the region, especially in a sensitive area like Coimbatore.
“Because of the 1998 blast, we lost precious years and opportunities to have emerged as a popular business destination on a par with Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. It took nearly six years for the business to regain normalcy. Now, we want concrete measures to ensure a safe business ecosystem,” he said.
He added that a strong message from the Chief Minister is essential to ensure that law and order prevails in the region.
The Tamil Nadu Police had handed over all the documents to the NIA a few days ago. So far, six accused have been arrested.
On October 23, a blast took place near a temple in which Jameesha Mubin, an engineer, was killed. Initially, the TN Police were looking into the matter and later the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on October 27 ordered the NIA to take over the probe.
The FIR filed by the NIA reads that a search operation was conducted at the house of the deceased Jameesha Mubin in which a number of incriminating documents were found. As many as 109 articles were seized during that raid.
The source said that notebooks were recovered in which their missions regarding jihad were mentioned. “We recovered black powder, potassium nitrate, nitroglycerin, PETN powder, aluminium powder, sulphur powder and sterile surgical equipment,” said the official.