Bangalore: Two years after they announced their intent to set up manufacturing units in a state government-developed apparel park at Doddaballapur, 26 companies are yet to do so because of lack of crucial support infrastructure.

Not much of a start: A view of Doddaballapur apparel park. Twenty-six companies are waiting for the central effluent treatment plant to come up so that they can set up their units.

The Doddaballapur apparel park is on the outskirts of Bangalore and is being developed by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB).

While 30 companies bought land in the 187-acre park, only four have moved in. And the 26 firms, which had announced an aggregate investment of Rs150 crore, are waiting for the central effluent treatment plant (CETP).

The government had promised that this plant, which will treat the industrial waste generated by the manufacturing units, would be in place by the time the park opened.

Among the companies waiting for the CETP is apparel exporter Gokaldas Images.

“We are planning to run a seven-acre processing plant from the park. How can we do it if there is no waste disposal system in place?" said Jagdish Hinduja, managing director, Gokaldas Images and member, Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India (CMAI), an industry body.

The four companies that have moved in — Raymond’s Everblue Apparel Ltd, Bombay Rayon Fashions Ltd, Himatsingka Seide Ltd and Amtek Industries — either run the so-called non-processing units that do not require chemical treatment of fabric and, therefore, do not generate chemical waste or have invested in their own effluent treatment plants.

Himatsingka Seide, for instance, runs a non-processing unit and Bombay Rayon, one of the first to set up base in the apparel park, finally had to set up its own treatment plant last year. “The lack of a CETP and a sewage treatment plant has been the major drawback at the apparel park and has kept most companies away from it," said Ashok Manami, project officer, KIADB.

The board now says the CETP will be set up by mid-May and the sewage treatment plant (STP) by mid-April. “We are sure that the remaining companies will come in as soon as these plants are operational," added Manami.

Binny Ltd, Prateek Apparel Pvt. Ltd, Davanagere Cotton Mills, Kay International Ltd and Ramson Garment Finishing Equipments Ltd are some of the other companies which are still waiting to begin production even after buying land at the park.

The apparel park is close to the new international airport at Devanahalli, but there are other issues companies wishing to set up manufacturing facilities in the park face as well.

There isn’t enough trained manpower available and the initial plan that people from nearby villages would be interested in working in units in the park hasn’t worked.

And the park is still short of power and water.

“Big processing units here face problems such as the high cost of labour and water," said Aditya Himatsingka, executive director of Himatsingka Seide.

Companies end up paying more for workers or spending more on training them. And they bring in water through tankers.

“There are serious infrastructure problems at the park. It is not surprising that not many companies have moved in there," said Dinesh Hinduja, executive director, Gokaldas Exports.

“The government has been trying hard and companies such as ours which are expanding there are hopeful of the effluent plant coming up soon," added Prashant Agarwal, managing director of Bombay Rayon Fashions. Jagdish Hinduja said the government has been making similar promises for the past two years.

Meanwhile, even though the first phase of the apparel park hasn’t really taken off, the government is going ahead with a planned second phase which, Manami claimed, will be operational by January 2009. “There are nearly 20 units which have bought land in the second phase and they have already started building the units," added Manami. The Karnataka government plans to set up six more textile parks at Belgaum, Kanakpura, Mysore, Anekal, Bellary and Davanagere.