Thane is the 3rd most industrialized district in the State and industrially advanced district of Maharashtra. Thane-Belapur-Kalyan business belt is the Centre of incredibly advanced modern industries. The business boom within the district, however, is focused on this commercial belt.
Thane, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi, Vasai is the industrially developed tehsils and generally urbanized. The district is largely industrialized having 10 MIDC areas, 2 Co-operative Industrial Estates. The main industries in the district are Chemical, Automobiles, Pharmaceutical, Artificial fiber, Plastic and Plastic Goods, Fertilizers, Insecticides, Paints, Edible items, and many others.
The total geographical location of the district is 934 thousand hectares which are 3.11% of the entire geographical region of the State. There are 7 talukas i.e. Thane, Vasai, Bhiwandi, Shahapur, Murbad, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar in the district.
Industrial Development and Industrial estates in Thane
Thane is an industrially advanced district. As it is very near to an International market town like Mumbai, all infrastructural centers like Water, Electricity, State & National Highway, Railways are within the district.
The first atomic electricity plant became mounted in the Tarapur (Palghar Taluka) in October 1969. The place of Tarapur Dahanu is devoted to atomic strength council and reliance industries. Industrial estates are set up in Thane and areas of Tharewadi, Kalva, Wagle Estate, Murbad, and Shahapur. The predominant textile production is maintained in Biwandi. The most essential Industrial belt is said to be Thane Ambarnath Belapur Region. Other contemporary Industries of Thane are engineering enterprise, drugs and chemical substances, fertilizers, paper mills, fit boxes, and fabrication.
The important business sector is Thane Belapur Kalyan belt. The most critical group of industries consists of Tarapur, Ambarnath, Palgarh, Vasai, and Murbad, which deals in the production of equipment, refrigeration, boilers, machinery parts and so on.
Foundation of Thane Small Scale Industries Association (TSSIA)
In a candid interaction with SME Venture, Mr. Sameer Shirodkar, the Secretary-Legal of COSIA, explained about the origin of Thane Small Scale Industries Association (TSSIA). He said that – In 1974, TSSIA was established and registration was done in 1977. The main pillars of the association are Dr. Appa Saheb Khambete.
There were many challenges in running individual industries. One of them, the Octroi tax system was the biggest challenge faced by Small scale industries. Corruption was everywhere. The Government was harassing small industries in the name of corruption. Every rule was formed for only large scale industries. There were no legal provisions, as such, it will address the issues of small scale industries. Although there was small scale ministry in central government, still it was not so effective and powerful to solve the issues of small scale industries.
Subsequently, octroi issues, central excise issues, sales tax issues were confronted by small scale industries. At that time Dr. Appa Khambete, while along doing his businesses, he encountered these issues. So he formed close ties with like-minded entrepreneurs from Thane area – Mr. B.K.Gupta, Mr. P.Narayan, Mr. Shrinivas who got together in 1974 to form Thane association.
After the foundation of TSSIA, They came across many challenges such as the absence of specific policy and objective. Also, they were not getting bank loan sanction, harassed in the name of authorities of the excise tax, Octroi, sales tax, local police, the municipal corporation. Each and everything was addressed by TSSIA significantly.
TSSIA truly started flexing its muscles after the 1977 visiting of Industries Minister George Fernandes. It was the first big Conference organized in Thane at St. Johns School, which was attended by more than 800 entrepreneurs and others. This was also the occasion when Khambete’s reputation for plain speaking was established. The maverick George was trying to casually change the time of the meeting, after agreeing to it previously. Since all arrangements had been made, Khambete courteously but firmly told the Minister that if he did not turn up at the time as agreed the meeting would commence. George, who must have been accustomed to being unchallenged, appeared surprised. But he turned up on time at the meeting!
A growing Association had to be housed somewhere and despite all efforts, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation would not allow the 1000 sq. plot without recovering the Rs. 250 per sq.m which was the industrial rate and a big amount at that time. Khambete in his blunt fashion did some plain speaking. He told Shrinivas Patil who was then the Dy. Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation that the Thane Small Scale Industries Association was, in fact, performing many functions on behalf of the entrepreneur which the MIDC should be doing. Shrinivas Patil who went on to become the Governor of Sikkim must have been impressed because the next thing they knew was that the plot was allotted to them on a nominal lease of Re 1/year in 1985!
A big Fund Raiser was held at Dadaji Kondeo Stadium in Thane and the late R.B. Ankola lent the association Rs.2 lakhs to kickstart the event, but he later refused to accept repayment. Similarly, S.K. Shantilal of S.K. Engineers was a tower of support for Khambete. With his generous help, the first floor got completed.
Out of such acts of individual generosity, the present structure housing both TSSIA and the Chamber of Small Industries Association was built brick-by-brick. From 1974 to 1986, almost on a daily basis Khambete, with a jhola slung on his shoulders, would take a round of various industrial units, to explain and cajole entrepreneurs into parting with the funds needed for the project. Many entrepreneurs, despite being victims of the very system which TSSIA was created to fight, were still unable to comprehend the need for a full-fledged institution, and personnel required to run the same.
COSIA – CHAMBER OF SMALL INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION
It was a meeting to discuss the clubbing of Industries (then a hot issue) with Mr. Vengal Rao, the Union Minister of Industries in the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet in 1989 that led to the formation of the Chamber of Small Industries Association. When Khambete led a delegation to meet the Minister as President of TSSIA, a point of contention was that the Union Minister could not be expected to meet every local Association and listen to their grievances.
The need for a National Association, an all-India apex body of small industries had already been discussed, as there was the paradoxical situation of the Government consulting large industry associations on issues concerning SME Industries about which their representatives virtually had no clue. Other small industry Associations were paper tigers who were more adept at lobbying Delhi Ministers rather than genuinely and persistently raising issues on behalf of the small industry.
The Blood Bank was another initiative, which served both a social purpose and also brought in necessary funds to meet the growing expenses of the Associations.
Throughout this period, the pieces of what would constitute one of the most active and effective Small Industry Associations fell into place. The next generation of entrepreneurs formed a supportive foundation to raise COSIA to new heights. The annual summons to the Finance Ministry for Budget Suggestions, inputs for the MSME Act, Labour Laws for Small Industry, becoming a Member of the National Board of MSMEs in 2008, VENDEX Exhibitions at Thane in association with the MSME Development Institute, Mumbai. TSSIA & COSIA activities have spiraled.
COSIA took a delegation of 25 members to visit the East African country of Senegal in 1996, with entrepreneurs forming very useful and productive links. In 2002, COSIA led a very successful MSME Delegation to China. With the highly respected Dilip Salwekar joining COSIA as Secretary-General in 2004, there was a qualitative improvement in the output of COSIA as he spearheaded COSIA outreach to the 4 corners of India.
Current Challenges faced by SMEs in Thane
- Higher electricity rate/Absence of quality Electricity /no proper maintenance of electricity
- No enough water facilities
- Road transportation challenges
- MTNL network issues
Mr. Sameer Shirodkar, the Secretary-Legal of COSIA, says that “In the competitive era of globalization and liberalization, our association is performing a significant role to support the interest of Small Scale industries and encourage them to update technology to sustain higher growth rate.
We plan meetings and seminars with government officials to make them informed about the challenges faced by SSI with various issues like Electricity, Central Excise, Sales Tax, MIDC, ESIC, MTNL network, road transport issues, and with various other State and Central, Local Govt. Departments and Authorities related to industries.”