Defence truck plant opened in E India
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated East India's first automotive plant for production of heavy duty defence trucks.Updated: Feb 18, 2006 17:05 IST
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated East India's first automotive plant for production of heavy duty defence trucks in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, opening a new vista for the supply of defence equipment from private sector industry.
Set up on 300 acres of land near Haldia Port at a cost of Rs 550 crore by Ural India Limited under a joint venture between Russia's largest heavy duty truck manufactures Uralaz and West Bengal government with 44.5 per cent equity stake, the plant had been biuld in a record time of ten months.
Inaugurating the plant, the Defence Minister, recalling the close defence partnerships between the country and the Russian federation, said the new plant would initially produce 7,000 trucks per annum and within the next few years, the annual capacity would be increased to 70,000 trucks annually and most of it would be supplied to the Indian defence forces.
The Defence Minister said at present India spent about $10 billion annually for the purchase of defence equipment from abroad. But with the opening of the new Ural India Limited plant, production in which would begin in April, the total cost of acquiring foreign defence components would be reduced substantially and he gave credit for this to the increasing number of private-public initiatives.
Overcoming political differences with the state Chief Minister, Mr Mukherjee complimented the industrial initiatives of Mr Bhattacharjee which, he said, had provided a new image to the state.
Also speaking on the occasion and welcoming the Russian company for joining hands with the Indian consortium on setting up the heavy automotive plant, Mr Bhattacharjee said Haldia was coming up as the country's first chemical hub within the next couple of years.
Recalling his visit to the erstwhile USSR way back in 1971, the Chief Minister, taking a cue from the Defence Minister's speech, also referred to the various Indo-Russian defence and other treaties.
He also promised the promoters of allocating 200 acres of land in addition to the present 300 acres for expansion.
Regarding employment opportunities in the new plant, the Chief Minister said besides 1,000 direct employment, it would create indirect employment opportunities in a number of ancillary units which were also coming up adjacent to it.
"One of our prime aim is to create employment opportunities for the youth in West Bengal," he emphasised.
Mr Bhattacharjee also asked the employees of the new plant to develop a cordial relationship with the employers in line with the one developed with the Mitsubshi industry for the steady industrial growth of the state.
Immediately afterwards, the Defence Minister and the Chief Minister, as part of their whirlwind tour of this port city, also laid the foundation stone of the single largest sugar manufacturing plant in the country here, to be build at a cost of Rs 250 crore by the Hyderabad-based Shri Renuka Sugars Limited.
This new sugar processing plant, to be commissioned by March 2007, would generate direct employment for 230 people in addition to indirect employement to about 400 people and produce 2000 tonnes of sugar per month.
The Chief Minister, in his third programme of the day, also inaugurated the new building of Haldia Institute of Maritime Studies and Research, besides a coke oven unit of the Tata with an investment of Rs 1500 crore.
First Published: Feb 18, 2006 17:05 IST