The Haryana government has refused to share the burden of liabilities of loss-making Central industrial unit, Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT), Pinjore, but has suggested that 839-acres where the plant is located could be sold and the earnings (profit) be divided equally among it and HMT. The HMT land is located along the Panchkula-Shimla highway and at the prevailing rate of around Rs 2.5 crore an acre in the area, the government could potentially net Rs 2,100 crore for the entire chunk.
The government has firmed up this response to an offer by heavy industries minister Anand G Geete. In a letter dated December 15, 2015, the Union minister had offered to handover the HMT land to the state government, if it agreed to bear the liability of extending the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to 1,500-odd employees.
The letter was discussed at a meeting presided over by Khattar on January 7, where it came out that ownership of land in the record of rights is in the favour of the state government.
Of 839 acres, 446 is vacant and the issue of its resumption is pending in the Punjab and Haryana high court with 393-acre occupied by HMT.
“The industries department has sent a proposal before Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar for approval,” a senior officer told HT.
Two options have been worked out by the department. One is to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and HMT to sell 446 acres and share the profits. The second option is to sell the entire 839 acres.
In both cases, the liabilities are to be taken care of by HMT.
The erstwhile Punjab had gifted 839-acres in Pinjore to HMT for the manufacture of machine tools and allied products in 1962 without charging the cost of acquisition. Of the gift, 446 acres has been vacant.
Due to recurring losses over the years, employees have not been paid salaries for 18 months in the tractor division. In the machine tool division, salaries have not been distributed for 11 months.
The capacity of the tractor division is to make 700 tractors a month, but is manufacturing just 100.
“We had met Khattar on Wednesday to raise the issue of pending salary. We were told only the Centre could help us,” said Mahinder Kumar, president, HMT Karmik Sangh (employees’ union).