Former HMT employees raised their voice against the alleged misappropriation of funds by the factory’s top management through the sale of prime property which was given to HMT as a gift deed by Governor of the erstwhile Mysore State Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.
Addressing a press conference, former HMT employee A Amaranath said Wodeyar had given 650 acres of land at Jalahalli to the HMT management and the factory was set up there.
“For the past three months, the shop floor workers of HMT have not been paid salaries. The Central government had pumped in around Rs 2,000 crore for the upliftment of HMT in the past five years. But the factory’s management has been selling this prime property to private parties since 2004 at a price much below the market rates. Nobody knows what had happened to that money,” said Amaranath who is also the Additional General Secretary of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Backwards and Minorities Employee Welfare Associations.
He alleged that the factory’s land has been sold to 53 individuals so far.
“According to the information obtained by the association through RTI, the land has been sold at Rs 200-400 per square feet while the market price was Rs 2,000 per square feet between 2004 and 2006. It’s rate stands at Rs 4,000-5,000 now,” he charged.
The former employees of the factory also pointed out that HMT’s internal inquiry had found former Chairmen Ramanujam and Zahid had misappropriated funds to the tune of `550 core through the land sale. They demanded that they should be brought before law immediately.
In 2006, the HMT management and the trade unions resolved to use 50 per cent of the money earned by selling the land for HMT Employee Welfare Fund and the rest for development of the units, State President of the association Dr N Hanumanthappa said.