BOOST TO MICD
Till two decades ago, Aurangabad in central Maharashtra was known as a trading centre whose claim to fame was its proximity to the world heritage sites of the Ajanta and Ellora caves. But, today it has emerged as an investment destination and is en-route to becoming a manufacturing hub for a swathe of industries.
Mr Kulathu Kumar, President, Endress & Hauser Flowtec (India), and Vice-Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Marathwada zonal council, said the investment climate in Aurangabad was conducive. “There has been a significant investment in the last few years in the region of at least Rs.10,000 crore. Given the location of Aurangabad, it also offers excellent connectivity to major centres such as Pune, Nashik and Mumbai.”
SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
The growth of city can be traced to the time the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) started acquiring land to set up industrial estates. Today, Shendra, Chikalthana and Waluj MIDC Industrial areas are significant zones just outside Aurangabad. These three have, over the years, witnessed a steady flow of investment and are today populated by both national and multinational giants which have set shop there.
There are five Special Economic Zones (SEZs) – one each in automotive, aluminium and renewable energy and two in pharmaceuticals.
According to Mr Kumar, the sectors that have attracted investment in the region have been the automotive, engineering and biotechnology-pharmaceuticals sectors. “Endress & Hauser has invested over Rs. 170 crore in the last five years to increase its presence in instrumentation,” he said.
Mr Sunil Todi, Managing Director, Akar Tools, which makes alloy steel for the forging and automotive components, said that his group had invested over Rs. 200 crore in the last two years. “In the last few years, the engineering and automotive sectors have picked up very significantly. Pune is almost saturated now. Aurangabad offers similar facilities and land and labour are still relatively cheap,” he added.
Wockhardt was among the first companies to invest in Aurangabad in 1979 and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Orchid Pharmaceuticals followed suit.
Bajaj Auto has invested in Waluj for two and three wheelers and last year announced a Rs. 500-crore investment to make four-wheelers through its joint venture with Renault-Nissan there.
Mr Kumar said the largest Indian two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero Honda, was scouting for land for a Greenfield plant around Aurangabad. “If that happens, it will give a fillip to auto ancillary units here as Aurangabad already has the second highest concentration of these units after Pune.”
Aurangabad also boasts of being the third city in Maharashtra after Pune and Nashik to offer an automotive cluster. Skoda Auto makes its models Superb, Laura and Yeti and also Passat and Jetta for Volkswagen and the A4, A6 and Q5 for Audi from its Aurangabad facility.
Other significant projects in the region include Siemens which has a invested Rs. 200 crore to make rail coaches, besides others such as Man Diesel, Goodyear, Endurance Systems, Hindalco-Almex Aerospace and Videocon.
Mr Sanjay Sethi, Development Commissioner – Industries, Government of Maharashtra, said that sectors such as automobile, engineering and pharmaceuticals were well established in Aurangabad and the new industrial policy to be announced end-March will focus on core sectors and also the agro-processing sector holds huge potential.
There is already a significant presence of seeds companies like Mahyco, Nath Seeds, Monsanto and Seminis Seeds. “We would like to tap the entire value chain from ‘farm to fork',” he said.