Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Haryana Cabinet to buy 446 acres of HMT land: Report

THE Haryana Cabinet last week decided to purchase 446 acres land belonging to Pinjore-based Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT)’s closed tractor unit to develop it as an industrial estate. The 446 acres chunk is a vacant out of total 846.43 acres under HMT’s possession and it will be handed over to Haryana State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) for the purpose.
The HSIIDC will be responsible for the management...
of this estate including upgradation and maintenance of all services to the allottees of Industrial plots on this land. The HSIIDC will pay compensation to HMT at the prevailing circle rate for the utilisable land measuring 297 acres which averages to Rs 62.54 lakh per acre and at the rate of 60 per cent of the average rate for the remaining 149 acres of land.
The 33.33 acres of land of HMT acquired by the Railways for its Chandigarh-Baddi broad gauge railway line project is part of the above 446 acres of land and the transfer of the same to Railways is agreed to in-principle by both HMT and Haryana government.
The move comes after an out-of-court settlement in a case pertaining to the resumption of the land.
A proposal in this regard will be tabled in the Cabinet meeting this week. Under an agreement between the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and the state, over 440 acres of the tractor unit will be purchased at two rates. The land usable for setting up the industrial estate would be purchased at the prevailing collector rate, while the undulating terrain would be bought at a notional price.
In 1962, Punjab had gifted 839 acres in Pinjore to the Centre for setting up an HMT unit to manufacture machine tools and allied products on an understanding that the land would be returned once the factory was shut or moved out.
However, the HMT unit came up only on a part of that land. An area of around 446 acres was left vacant. Of these 446 acres, only 306 acres is usable land. Over the years, the “ailing” unit began to crumble due to recurring losses, making it difficult to break even or pay salaries.
With the Centre announcing closure of the watches and tractor units, the state issued a notice seeking the land back. This was challenged in court. Under an out-of-court settlement, the state would pay for the land and the money would be utilised to take care of salaries.
Earlier in January this year, The HMT management has issued closure orders of the tractor division in Pinjore. The orders were pasted last evening on the HMT Pinjore campus.
The order was issued by S Girish Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, HMT. The similar orders were issued for Mohali and Hyderabad.
As per the order, “The contract of service of the workmen covered under the definition of Section 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and on the rolls of the factories with HMT Limited (tractor business group) stands terminated and the workmen stand relieved from the services of the factories with effect from January 24.” The Union Cabinet in October last year had already approved the closure of the loss-making tractor division of the HMT at Pinjore. The meeting of the Cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The tractor division was incurring losses continuously and is unable to pay the salaries and other statutory dues to its employees based in Pinjore. The HMT tractor division was established in Pinjore in 1971 to manufacture HMT tractors. According to information, there were around 1,000 employees out of which around 850 had taken voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and rest had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

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