In 1964, when the HMT unit opened in Kalamassery it had around 1,000 acres of land. But now it has shrunk to 378 acres. As land prices are appreciating, the company sits on a land bank worth approximately `3,000 crore.
Many controversies have been surrounding the HMT land which have even seen the floors of many courts, including the apex court.
If you walk on the HMT campus, concrete skeletons of buildings which were once inaugurated with much fanfare lie in a pathetic state. These are embodiments of false promises by the leaders to the people of the state.
As the company as such is struggling now owing to a slew of reasons the hunger to take the land pie of the company fails to die down. Though over 600 acres of land was allotted to many entities, the majority of the announced mega projects still remains on paper.
“In 2002, the majority of the land was allotted to KINFRA for the industrial development of the state. Though some projects have come up in the land a large area remains barren even after 12 years of allotment. The best example is the International Exhibition and Trade Centre project of Mumbai-based Zoom Developers Private Ltd. The have been allotted 30 acres for the project but only an iron structure is in place on the land. The much-lauded Cyber City project and Gem and Jewellery park are other examples which prove that only the land bank was the major attraction to announce these projects,” said CITU leader at HMT, Krishnadas. In 2007, HMT sold 70 acres of land to Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) for `90 crore for Cyber City project. Even after seven years, no brick has been laid for the project. The land is now worth around fivefold of the amount.
“Now Sutherland Global Services wants to secure the HMT Bungalow. Though they have been allotted 23 acres earlier for IT park, they have not set up the facility there. They can also set up the facility at the land under their possession. It is unfortunate that they are demanding the bungalow which sits on 93 cents of land,” Krishnadas said.