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N K'taka unhappy with Hero's decision

State loses out to Andhra Pradesh for hosting plant

Gururaj Jamkhandi  |  Dharwad 

The decision of Hero Motocorp to locate their unit near Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh has come as a great disappointment to the people of North Karnataka in general and Dharwad in particular. They are blaming the state government and political leaders for losing the project to Seemandhra.

Members of various organisations will stage a demonstration to protest the state’s apathy on Saturday at 10.45 AM. They will block the road and submit a memorandum to the deputy commissioner. Elected representatives, except Hubli-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad (BJP) did not do much to get the government acting swiftly to ensure the Hero Plant’s establishment in Dharwad.

Hero had shown an inclination to set up its Rs 3,000 crore motorcycle manufacturing unit near Mummigatti on the Pune-Bangalore National Highway where 900 acres of land is available for immediate grant. Hero Motors had submitted its proposal in August 2013 and the state government approved it in May, 2014.

“The company had placed some demands and the casual attitude of the government made the Hero Motors to decide in favour of Andhra Pradesh. This shows the deliberate neglect of North Karnataka by the powers that be,” said an industrialist.

The entire region was hoping that the Hero Motocorp would select the land being offered by Karnataka government near Belur, off Dharwad for locating their unit. While the people were optimistic that setting up of Hero Motocorp plant would generate employment opportunities on a large scale, farmers who had already parted with their land were hoping to get their children employed good and see the entire region thrive. The unit would have had the potential for direct employment for 20,000 youths.

The industrialists who had earlier in October 2008 been disappointed when the Tata decided to relocate its Nano car manufacturing unit at Anand in Gujarat from Singur in West Bengal. They had hoped to see a boom in economic activity in North Karnataka with several ancillary industries getting a boost by establishment of the Hero Motocorp plant in North Karnataka. However, what was in store for them was another bout of disappointment.

Traders, businessmen, industrialists and members of various organsation under the aegis of Dharwad Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed have expressed disappointment over the development.

“We had hoped that the Hero Motocorp officials would take into account all the factors and decide in favour of Dharwad for setting up their plant. It is a disappointing decision,” said Ravi Akalwadi, a businessman.

It is not that the Hero Motocorp’s decision to set up its plant in Andhra Pradesh came as a surprise. Apprehensions had been expressed when the state government dilly-dallied with Hero’s demand for fixing the VAT to be paid at 125 per cent. The company had asked for a 10-year period to pay VAT in a phased manner. Other demands were to reduce insurance amount from 125 per cent to 90 per cent and grant of 500 acres at one go.

A cabinet sub-committee was formed to look into the demands placed by Hero to set up its plant in Dharwad and the matter was left at that. There was no pro-active move on the part of Karnataka while AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu took the lead in ensuring that the plant was set up at Chittoor and an MoU was signed.

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First Published: Thu, September 18 2014. 20:35 IST