The 100-odd industrial units spread over the 44 acres of JRD Tata Industrial Estate - Independent Local Authority (ILA) at Autonagar, in Kanuru will shortly be rid of the problems of bumpy-dusty-polluted roads, lack of drinking water and drains.

After about 14 years of struggle by the representatives of the units, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has sanctioned a sum of Rs.7.68 crore for laying roads, and other infrastructure.

Under the MSME’s initiative, every district is allotted Rs.10 crore for infrastructure development in industrial clusters.

“Bureaucrats in other States approached the MSME for the release of funds, but in A.P. it was left to the unit owners and they had to run from pillar to post for the past 14 years. Our ILA is the first in the State to get the sanction,” said JRD Tata- ILA President P. Ravikumar.

The APIIC, as implementing agency, asked for 15 per cent of the amount as centage charges. “As per the size of our ILA, we were allotted only Rs.7.68 crore, and giving away 15 per cent to APIIC for doing nothing was a big problem. We approached Minister for Major Industries J. Geeta Reddy, who advised the APIIC to waive the centage charges,” said ILA secretary P. Ramesh.

About 100 units, which did not get land from the APIIC, put up workshops on the adjoining private land of farmers. When approached, the corporation was not keen on paying the farmers at the market rate, so individual owners purchased the land by forming a cooperative at market price and have been operating without any support from the State government, said JRD Tata Industrial Estate former president J.S.R.K. Prasad. The annual turnover of the 100-odd units is over Rs.200 crore and employs over 3,000 professionals. “We have been paying about Rs.10 crore of various taxes per year for the last 14 years. Had the government allotted 5 per cent of it, we would have had the proper infrastructure by now,” he said.

The units have pooled Rs.1.3 crore as they have to pay 15 per cent as margin money to the MSME for the release of funds.

More In: Vijayawada