Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, a development economist, has announced that a Marine Economic Zone (MEZ) can bring more prosperity and social development to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu than the controversial Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP) and the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) attached to the
Dr. Kalyanaraman was an executive of the Asian Development Bank for 17 years till 1995, handling a portfolio of 60m US D. After graduating from
According to Dr. Kalyanakrishnan, the MEZ would benefit two million traditional fishermen in the districts of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Thuthukudi and Kanyakumari. This area now accounts for over 25% of
Dr. Kalyanaraman points out that the proposed SEZ would result in the displacement of people and converting fertile agricultural lands to industrial complexes. If this is true, it would mean replacing one successful economic operation with another at the cost of the trauma and problems of dislodgement of sizable chunk of the population.
The Tuticorin Port Trust’s SEZ project is a different matter. If, as Dr. Kalyanaraman says, a Marine Economic Zone is more beneficial to the people of the area and to the nation than a Special Economic Zone, it should be given due contemplation. Whether SSCP and MEZ can coexist is also a moot point.