THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The promised land, a prerequisite for further development, continues to elude missile firm BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), whose fourth birthday passed unsung on December 31.
Phase II development plans of Chakkai-based BATL has come unstuck with the State Government yet to compensate the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the land at the Muttathara Sewage farm in lieu of the IAF land promised to BATL. Last heard, the government was grappling with a vexatious labour row in Muttathara, the settlement of which is key to the hand-over.
Nearly 100 employees of the Dairy Development Department engaged in fodder grass cultivation in Muttathara, who fear job loss are on the warpath demanding rehabilitation, which the government has failed to provide.
“As asked, the department submitted a proposal to the government sometime back in which it had sought retention of part of the land for grass cultivation, but no decision has been taken on this yet,” sources said. When contacted, Dairy Development director K T Sarojini said the department hoped to retain part of the land for cultivation so that some of the men could stay on.
“The remaining employees, we hope to redeploy in our various offices,” she said. Under an agreement, the IAF would transfer a 7.25-acre plot housing the Air Force Signals Unit adjacent to BATL once the State Government provided it with land elsewhere. The government identified 20 acres at the Sewage Farm in Muttathara - seven acres as compensation and 13 which the IAF is purchasing.
“The district administration had submitted its report to the government,” ADM Mohammed Mustafa said, when contacted.
But this report too is understood to be pending with the government.
All this time, a foundation-stone for Phase II unveiled by Defence Minister A K Antony continues to gather dust at the BATL administrative block.
“What can we do? Only if we get the land, we can establish a missile integration complex as planned. Without it, there is no development,” BATL executive director N R Vishnu Kartha said.
Even though the IAF had not formally transferred its land in Chakkai to BATL, about five acres, excluding the front portion, had been set aside based on a purely verbal agreement.
“We hope to start construction here soon,” Kartha said.
The erstwhile Kerala Hi-tech Industries Ltd (KELTEC) was gifted to Indo-Russian cruise missile venture BrahMos Aerospace Ltd in December, 2007. But a missile is yet to roll out of here, thanks to the administrative issues including labour disputes and uncertainty over the IAF land.
Incidentally, the coming February marks the third ‘birthday’ of the foundation-stone unveiled by Antony for the Phase II works.