The Times of India, January 10, 2021
KOPPAL: Chief minister BS Yediyurappa performed the ground-breaking ceremony of a toy manufacturing
hub here on Saturday, describing the 400-acre project as a landmark for the Karnataka government’s product-specific industrial cluster development programme.
This cluster, he said, intends to attract an investment of Rs 5,000 crore and generate direct and indirect employment for an estimated 1 lakh people in the region. “The toy manufacturing industry is labour-oriented, and most workers are women. Hence, this cluster is a bold step towards empowering women,” he said.
The cluster is promoted by Aequs SEZ Pvt Ltd in partnership with the Karnataka government. Aravind Melligeri’s Aequs operates a large aerospace SEZ in Belagavi as well. Jagadish Shettar, minister for large and medium scale industries, said Koppal has a tradition of making Kinnal toys. “We aim to make Koppal the country’s toy-making hub by promoting this art.”
‘Global toy makers keen to buy from Koppal facility’
If all goes as per plan, this could become India’s biggest toy manufacturing destination. Melligeri said his vision is to have several units — component makers, assembling units, toolmaking units, warehouses — making puzzles, soft toys and electronic toys, among others. He said global toy makers like Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and MGA Entertainment have expressed interest in buying from the Koppal facility.
On Saturday, six MoUs were signed. Two are for Aequs’ own units and the others are with Playgro (for remote-controlled toy cars), Micro Plastics (for toy exports), Sterling (for packaging), and Hong Kong company Hot Shot for toy moulding tools. Aequs’s Belagavi SEZ already hosts two toymaking units. Melligeri had earlier said that India’s tensions with China, by far the world’s biggest toy manufacturer, and resulting restrictions on tie-ups with Chinese firms would make toy-making in India difficult. But, he said, the company has gained experience from Belagavi.
Combined with the ecosystem being created in Koppal and government incentives, he is confident of competing with China and Vietnam.
India imports almost two-thirds of the $1 billion worth of toys it consumes, most of that from China.
This article first appeared on Times of India