Teething troubles at NIMZ

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president and Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao laid the foundation stone for the Integrated Defence System (IDS) by VEM Technologies at the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) near Zaheerabad in June.

During the function, the Minister had announced that VEM Technologies would establish a skill development centre at NIMZ, which would impart training to eligible locals and try to employ them depending on the requirement.

But, even after three months, some issues regarding land are being faced by the authorities. According to sources, some land were yet to be physically handed over to the company.

Two weeks ago, farmers of Chilapally, Chilapally tanda, Bardipur and Yelgoi villages stalled the survey works by officials demanding more compensation.

Some of the farmers, who had been assigned land in the past by previous governments and surrendered it for a price, sought more time till the standing crops were harvested and also a hike in compensation. They reportedly argued with the authorities that they had been offered a very low compensation.

Though there is no official confirmation, it was stated that the farmers have been demanding a compensation of ₹15 lakh per acre whereas they have been promised only about ₹3.5 lakh.

On Saturday, Collector A. Sharath held a review meeting with the officials and instructed them to address these problems immediately.

“Resolve the issues related to land for VEM Technologies immediately, finalise the road re-routing and submit estimates for power lines before October 7. In addition to speeding up the process of land acquisition, take steps to start a skill development centre by VEM at the earliest,” he said.

Direct road from Zaheerabad to NIMZ via NH-65

With activity picking up at the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) near Zaheerabad in Sangareddy district and several companies showing interest to establish units, the government has been focusing on creating infrastructure.
Three industries — Triton Electric Vehicles, VEM Technologies Limited (a defence firm) and British EV Tech startup ‘One Moto’ — have already signed MoUs with the State government to establish their units. Some of the firms’ representatives had already visited Yelgoi, one of the 17 villages under the limits of NIMZ, to examine the land proposed for the units.

A road of 9.5-km length and 100-feet width will be laid from Zaheerabad to NIMZ linking it directly to NH-65 (Hyderabad-Mumbai road). This will be a one-and-a-half hour drive to various destinations for representatives of industries. The airport at Bidar will be a half-an-hour drive from NIMZ.

The proposed Regional Ring Road (RRR) will be connected to NIMZ within 40-km at Peddapur in the outskirts of Sangareddy district headquarters.

Officials have completed the survey and identified that about 65 acres of land was required to construct the road that will connect NH-65 at Ranzole and pass through the outskirts of Huggelli, Kishtapur, Machanoor and Bardipur.

Currently, there are four routes to reach the villages that will comprise NIMZ. Those coming from Hyderabad have to pass through Pastapur, Kishtapur, Machanoor and Bardipur. Another route is from Munipally, Peddachelmeda, and Jharasangam to Yelgoi. The third route is from Kankol, Thatipalli, Singitam, Raikod Chowrasta and Rukumapur. The last one is for those coming from Bidar and have to pass through Rejinthal, Gangwar and Hadnoor.

The officials are gearing to issue notification for land acquisition and the process was expected to commence shortly. “There might not be much resistance from farmers as their land will fetch a higher price once the road is laid. The notification was issued about a month ago. The land acquisition process will be completed as per LA Act,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.

Zaheerabad becomes new investment destination

The unit to be spread over 511 acres will be established with an investment of about ₹ 1,000 crore and the work is expected to be completed in the next five years. The facility will manufacture end-to-end next generation weapons system, including missiles, radars, fighter planes and helicopters. The industry is expected to provide employment to about 2,000 people.

Four months earlier, on June 24 electric vehicles manufacturing giant from United States — Triton — signed an agreement with the State government for setting up a manufacturing unit at Yelgoi. The company proposed to establish ultra-modern electric vehicles manufacturing unit at an estimated cost of ₹ 2100 crore. The company manufactures mini trucks, sedans, luxury SUVs and rickshaws. Once completed the Triton is expected to provide employment for about 25,000 persons. A team from Triton accompanied by the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) Vice-Chairman and Managing Director E.V. Narasimha Reddy visited Yelgoi recently to examine the area that was proposed to be allocated to them.

Yelgoi is one of the 17 villages in both Jharsangam and Nyalakal mandals that constitute the upcoming National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ).

These two developments have attracted many and investment in land has been increasing. For instance the land rates, that was about ₹ 2 lakh and ₹ 3 lakh per acre in around Yelgoi, have sky-rocketed and one can see vehicles carrying investors from far off places at the registrations section of the Mandal Revenue Office. The present rate was put between ₹ 30 lakh per acre and ₹ 50 lakh per acre, depending on the location and access to the place. Several real estate ventures with huge boards have also sprung up near NIMZ.

Expert panel defers green nod for NIMZ

An Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has deferred decision on environment clearance for the Zaheerabad National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ).

It did so, citing the need for additional documents and information on various aspects, including land acquisition, protection of trees – around 2,300 trees are envisaged to be cut – as well clear demarcation of industrial units based on their category as per pollution norms.

An ambitious project, the NIMZ has been proposed on 12,635 acres in Nyalkal and Jharasangam mandals, near Zaheerabad, in Sangareddy district.

Project proponent Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation said the land came under 17 revenue villages and mostly comprise barren and vacant lands with a few pockets of farmlands.

Detailed deliberation

The EAC meeting on March 17-18 had detailed deliberation on the submissions made by TSIIC before deciding to defer the proposal, minutes of the meeting said. On land acquisition, the committee said many representations on land acquisition and compensation paid had been received by the Union Environment Ministry. In this backdrop, it wanted the Ministry to forward the representations to TSIIC so that a “detailed response in a tabular form [can] be submitted on the issues raised. An elaborate report on land acquired, compensatory details and the period for settlement has to be sorted according to the State government Policy,” the EAC said.

Referring to the norms, the EAC asked TSIIC to list activities needed for implementing the commitments made during the public hearing, of the project, with cost estimates in the Environment Management Plan and submit it as part of Environment Impact Assessment report to the Ministry. Calling for a greenery and conservation management plan to sustain existing greenery, the EAC said all tall, old and heritage native trees should be enumerated, GPS-tagged and detailed in EIA EMP.

The “plotting design should be such that all such trees are protected,” it said.

TSIIC had said about 2,300 trees were envisaged to be cut. The total green area planned is 1974.4 acres (15.6%) under layout periphery green belt, traffic rotaries, green buffer areas and open green spaces. Also, 33% of each industrial plot is to be maintained as green belt as per TSPCB guidelines.

Around 8.87 lakh trees are proposed to be planted in NIMZ and their survival is to be monitored frequently. The rate of survival during operational phase will not be less than 80%.

A capital cost of ₹13.5 crore is to be earmarked for this purpose and ₹60.75 lakh allocated for recurring expenses towards green belt development and maintenance,” TSIIC said.

Recommending a detailed risk assessment and management of the project, the EAC meeting said since “hamlets proposed in the industrial area would lead to a negative impact [their] settlements have to be planned in a safe zone and a modified plan be submitted. It wanted phase-wise industrial planning submitted and since automobile industry – one of the many industries proposed in the NIMZ – should be engaging in painting activity, which comes under Red category, all industries need to be clearly demarcated.

Sangareddy poised for a major facelift

If the announcement made by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in Rajya Sabha transforms into action, the Sangareddy district would get a facelift making it a most sought-after place soon.

“The government has granted final approval for two other National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) – viz Prakasham district in Andhra Pradesh and Sangareddy district (the erstwhile Medak district) in Telangana. Steps are being taken by the Central Ministries for creation or upgradation of external infrastructure linkages for these NIMZs,” Mr. Goyal informed Rajya Sabha in a written reply on June 28.

With the announcement, the long-pending demand of a railway line from Patancheru to Medak via Sangareddy and Jogipet covering about 95 kilometres would be fulfilled. And for the new railway line, a survey was sanctioned in 2018-19.

The NIMZ has been proposed to be established in about 12,635 acres in two phases. The district administration has already acquired about 3,500 acres from farmers and another 9,000 acres is yet to be acquired. The officials held a meeting with the farmers in this regard last year, but the latter refused to part with their land for the price being offered by the government. Now, with the cost of the land going up, the officials may find it difficult to acquire the remaining land.

“The establishment of automobile and agriculture-related industries are welcome here as they would generate employment. The NIMZ is expected to create two lakh jobs once it is completed. But, establishment of pharma and chemical units would benefit the region,” opined G. Jayaraj, a CPI (M) leader.

Mr. Jayaraj added that the NIMZ would have road and rail connectivity within Zaheerabad and air connectivity from Bidar in Karnataka