Seven years since the Union government gave its nod for the Vyapar Apparel Park here to providing employment to people from the villages around working, in the garment industry, there is still no sign of the project taking shape.
The Apparel Park was meant to stop the migration of thousands of people from the area around Hindupur to Bangalore, Doddaballapur and Chikballapur in Karnataka to eke out a living. It was to come up in Hindupur, Rayadurgam and Pamidi and generate jobs for hundreds of local people, particularly women. In its report to the Centre the then state government of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy stated that the park would provide employment directly to 20,000 persons and indirectly to 100,000 more.
Enticed by the hype, some 225 garmet traders from Mudireddipalle in Hindupur town came forward to become stakeholders in the project, each paying up Rs 50,000 as share capital.
Responding positively, the Union government coughed up 40 per cent of the funding, amounting to some Rs 104 crore under the Integrated Textiles Development Scheme (ITDS). Playing along, the state government entrusted the work of bulding the Hindupur Vyapar Apparel Park to the Proddatur-based KCP Projects Limited, and allocated 75 acres of land on the outskirts of Hindupur at a price much less than the market price. Showing early haste, three giant sheds were built and some machinery was installed in 2010. And that was that.
The hiatus at the Hindupur Apparel Park stands in sharp contrast with the more evident progress made at similar projects elsewhere in the state. In 2005, the Union government decided to build no less than 30 textile parks across the country. In AP, these were to come up at Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad (Pochampally) and Hindupur. While work on the apparel parks at Visakhapatnam and Pochampally has progressed, Hindupur has been in hibernation.
All the same, the nine directors of the Hindupur Apparel Park claim they have spent Rs 35 crore on construction and purchase of some machinery. Not surprisingly, there have been allegations of large-scale irregularities. It is learnt that the Union government has so far released Rs 90 crore for the project but the directors have no explanation for the money received and money spent,including the contributions of shareholders.
The Apparel Park’s managing director is also on the All-India Handloom Board while nine members of his family are among the 225 shareholders of the park.
Against this backdrop, at the general body meeting held recently, shareholders confronted the directors demanding details of work done and money spent.
APCO managing director Gowri Shanker inspected the park recently and submitted a report to the government on the progress of the work. There it rests.