BANGALORE: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a Navaratna defence PSU and a top-ranked global defence aerospace company, which is looking for a location to house a production facility for its Advanced Utility Helicopter (AUH) project, could get land in Bidar for the project.
Bidar Lok Sabha member and former chief minister N Dharam Singh told Express that Union Defence Minister A K Antony had shown keen interest in establishing the unit at Bidar, where the Indian Air Force also has its base.
“Let us secure land for the proposed AUH programme and the Defence Ministry will give a green signal to HAL to locate its production facility in Bidar,” Singh said.
He also said Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, with whom he had taken up the matter on Saturday, readily agreed to release land for the project.
“The CM’s response was encouraging and it will be the first major aerospace project in the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka region, considered the most backward in the state,” he said.
The new facility will set off huge economic activities in the region and also boost employment, he said.
According to HAL sources, the defence PSU had been on the lookout for a suitable location for the AUH project for the last two years.
Three to four locations in Karnataka had been considered but Bidar, situated at the northeastern tip of the state, seemed suitable, sources said.
Referring to the Union Defence Ministry’s proposal seeking land in Bidar, Karnataka State Infrastructure Department Secretary, Rajkumar Khatri said, “If the proposal materialses, it would help reinforce Karnataka’s leadership in aerospace.”
He said the state government would extend all cooperation to the Union Defence Ministry in providing all necessary logistic support including land, water, electricity and manpower and added that Karnataka has already made a mark in aerospace engineering activities. HAL has 16 production, three MRO divisions and 10 R&D centres across the country.
If sanctioned, Bidar would be developed as an exclusive hub for HAL’s helicopter manufacturing facilities, the sources said.