HYDERABAD: With the Pharma City project gathering steam, the Telangana government is now sharpening focus on the Zaheerabad NIMZ (National Investment and Manufacturing Zone) to boost the manufacturing sector in the region. The Pharma City project too was accorded NIMZ status and the state government has already received environmental clearance for it.

“We are commencing the environmental impact assessment process later this month,” Telangana IT and industries principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan said. “Once the environment assessment is completed, work on development of infrastructure will commence,” he said, adding that the public hearing is scheduled for January 20 and officials will explain pollution-related safeguards to the villagers.

The state government had recently requested the Centre to allocate Rs500 crore for Phase I development of the project.

Ranjan said that it is only after the environmental clearance that the state government will be able to provide land to investors.

Land in Zaheerabad NIMZ can be offered at a much lower rate, approximately 50% lower as compared to land in Pharma City, because it is in the rural area, Ranjan said.

Currently, only around 2,900 acres of the total 13,500 acres earmarked for the project is in possession of the state government and it expects to acquire the rest this year.

Ranjan pointed out that apart from attractive land prices, Zaheerabad NIMZ scores very high in terms of road, rail, port as well as air connectivity, and the region also has a good mix of talent availability due to the presence of many industries in nearby areas.

Even as the state government bets big on NIMZ projects, professor Chandan Chowdhury, senior associate dean at the Indian School of Business, said, “To make our NIMZ successful, we need to think beyond traditional interventions and focus on promoting R&D and digital innovation. The government shares 50% of the total expenditure for filing for an international patent to encourage innovation in NIMZ. Such initiatives will help manufacturing companies within NIMZ to drive strategies for global competitiveness.”

Adil Zaidi, partner and leader, economic development advisory, EY India, said that post Covid-19, it is essential to ensure enough provisions for workers’ accommodation and social amenities for them to live within the manufacturing zone. This will reduce the cost of manpower for industries, as well as help tackle large-scale labour migration, he said.

“NIMZs have the potential to foster a collaborative working model between different players along the value chain,” Zaidi said. “For this, the need of the hour is to provide various statutory approvals at NIMZ level, along with plug-and-play infrastructure for key sectors such as ESDM, food processing, and textiles, among others, so that the overall cost of doing business for manufacturing units reduces and India becomes competitive.”

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