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No land issues at Pune plant: Chinese firm Foton

The work to build the factory will begin in February-March, CFO of Foton Motors Manufacturing India said

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Shackles on leasing of farm land may go

China's largest truck maker Foton has secured all licenses including environmental clearance for setting up a Rs 1,676-crore plant near Pune, a top executive said refuting reports that it was facing opposition from local people over the unit's proximity to a Hindu pilgrimage site.

Dismissing a recent New York Times report that Foton's plant has ran into problems over local people objecting to its construction close to a sacred hill with holy caves, Edward Xu, chairman of Board and CFO of Foton Motors Manufacturing India, said the land was handed over to it by Maharashtra government and faced no such issues.

"The land is handed over to us by the Maharashtra government and we have got all clearances including the environmental clearances," Xu told PTI here.

Foton, which is investing Rs 1,676 crore in the plant, has got 250 acres of land at Chakan near Pune at a cost Rs 250 crore to manufacture a range of vehicles including SUVs, vans and trucks.

He said the work to build the factory will begin in February-March and production will start next year.

Xu said his company has faced no land issues as reported by the NYT highlighting reservations of some of the local people, specially the monks connected with the holy cave which is a Hindu pilgrimage centre.

He said he has visited the temple over the hill and prayed there and willing to provide an underpass passage if necessary for public to cross over without any problem.

He also denied that Foton, which has fixed assets of over $4.77 billion has chosen the site for Feng Shui, a Chinese philosophical system of harmonising everyone with the surrounding environment for peace and prosperity.

"It is the only piece of land offered by the Maharashtra government. It has a mountain and river which is good for Feng Shui but we have not asked for it," he said.

Xu said people's attachment to land and environment is understandable as China has gone through the process of development, adding that ultimately it is people who will be benefited by the development.

Foton India plans to employ 1,000 people, over 70% are from India.

"We plan to deploy only essential staff from China the rest will be recruited from India," he said.

Xu said the business environment for Chinese has improved and a number of want to step up investments in India as it is a regarded a safe destination.

He said the issues like the Goods and Services Tax Bill, the land acquisition Bill and the labour laws are important, specially for manufacturing sector to speed up India's development.

Foton India looks to capture 10% Indian medium and heavy vehicle market in the next few years.

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First Published: Fri, January 22 2016. 12:13 IST