Vijayawada

Change agents

Kia Motors turns drought-ridden Rayalaseema industrially vibrant

India’s second-most rain-deficient district — Anantapur — is now home to a bouquet of industrial units and the driving force behind this visible change is the Ultra Mega Integrated Automobile Manufacturing facility of Kia Motors India, a subsidiary of the South Korea-based automotive giant Kia Motors Corporation, at Erramanchi village.

The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility established with an investment of ₹13,000 crore within a record time of just over one year stands out as an example for the world for being a green initiative — having the capability to recycle 100% of its waste water in a place where nothing but tomatoes used to be grown.

The region that used to witness very high rate of migration is now experiencing reverse phenomenon with the Kia Motors India promising 4,000 direct jobs and 7,000 in ancillary units. With trial production of the SP Concept Cars Kia SP2i model launched on January 29, there is a sudden surge of demand for land to be allotted for setting up various units and enquiries with the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd have increased manifold, says APIIC Zonal Manager V. Gopikrishna.

Giving an overview of the spurt, District Industries Centre General Manager Gurrala Sudhersan Babu said the Berger Paints in Hindupur and the Arjas Steel (earlier Gerdau Steels) in Tadipatri got huge orders and several spare parts manufacturing units would soon execute huge orders.

About 2,000 persons have already been recruited by the Kia Motors India and its vendors establishing units close by at Ammuvaripalli and Gudipalli so far. Once the commercial production begins in October, the number of jobs created will increase.

When the 535-acre land on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru National Highway No.44 was finalised for setting up the plant with an annual capacity of producing 3,00,000 cars of five models, availability of water was the key lacuna, but Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu took active interest in completing the canal work to bring Krishna water from the Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi network to the Gollapalli Reservoir that is just 7 k.m. away from the plant.

Pieces of land that used to attract ₹1 lakh an acre were acquired at ₹10 lakh an acre and now the adjoining areas command even up to ₹1 crore an acre.

The rental and land values in Penukonda, the nearest town, and surroundings have seen a boom and the positive impact can be seen in the form of new constructions of residential houses coming up in all villages/towns like Dharmavaram, Puttaparthi and Raphtadu that are within a radius of 70 k.m.

Collector G. Veerapandian believes it is going to be a great boon for the district. "It has already changed the drought-ridden landscape into industrially-vibrant one. Apart from increasing the land price, the service sector has been benefited a lot in terms of hotels, transportation, house rents etc.," he says.

About 2,000 youth have been given training through a joint programme with the AP Skill Development Corporation and many of them found jobs locally. Once the Kia plant comes into its commercial production, hospitality, entertainment and tourism are bound to get a major boost. A three-star hotel has already been established for the Koreans close to Penukonda but there are another three or four in the pipeline there.

Close to the Kia Motors, the APIIC has given 26.87 acres at Raphthadu village to the Page Industries Pvt.Ltd. (Jockey brand) for establishment of garment manufacturing and warehouse facility with an investment of ₹129 crore. The employment potential is 6,420, says APIIC official.

After the trial production of the Kia started, the APIIC started getting enquiries for setting up a large industrial unit and one of them proposes to invest ₹1,400 crore. The major sectors that are looking for a piece of land are power tools, manufacturing, automobile and electronic parts. The Kia Motors dependent vendors — 22 of them — will bring an investment of ₹3,000 crore and six have already started establishing their units.

The Gollapuram Industrial Park at Hindupur is fast filling up with new units adding to the existing big names in garments and the Ferro Alloys. Overall 55 mega industrial units are operational in the district in cement, steel, textiles and food processing, Soon cold storages also are likely to come up.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:24:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/change-agents/article26163181.ece

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