Though the state government had publicly announced that it was planning to take over around 320 acres of the erstwhile Gwalior Rayons Factory (Grasim Industries) land, in the possession of Aditya Birla Group at Mavoor, it is reliably learnt that the government is likely to go slow on the process.
The state government had decided to go ahead with procedures for acquiring the land as Birla Group failed to present its projects on the factory land convincingly at the meeting with Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty last month.
But top officials with the Department of Industries say that the government still hopes that Birla will come up with a better proposal for starting a new venture in Mavoor. “During the meeting with the Industries Minister, the group said that it planned to start an Information Technology (I T) Park, a Global Ayurveda Village, a training centre, a five-star hotel and a centre of a foreign university at Mavoor.
But, they came for the meeting without proper study, master plan or time schedule for the implementation of these projects. The government could not bear this lukewarm attitude of the group and so, we told them that the government is left with no option but to go ahead with the takeover of the land. Although we have made our intentions clear, the government still wants Birla to come up with a viable proposal and start a job-oriented venture there,” an official said. Special officer K Sudhakaran says, “The government is going ahead with vacating the stay for the takeover of the land. In between the process, Birla Group is welcome to submit fresh proposals and we will consider them based on merit.”
Meanwhile, Birla authorities say that they are eager to start a venture and have already entrusted with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) the task of carrying out a study of the land to prepare a project report. However, the decision to go slow on the part of the government was driven from the fear that any move to recapture the land will result in long legal battles. PTA Raheem MLA says, “This is not the first time the state government is planning to take over the land.
When it tried to retake the land a couple of years ago, the process was stayed by the Kerala High Court. It is not possible for the present government to take over the land without vacating the stay. If the government decides to go ahead with its decision to recapture the land, it is very likely that we will see a long legal battle, a situation that will not be in the interest of anyone.”
Earlier, proposals such as Knowledge City, projects related to nanotechnology, biotechnology and related cutting edge research and development (R&D) and knowledge process management had been rejected by the state government on several occasions. The Birla Group’s Gwalior Rayons factory at Mavoor, the largest private sector industrial unit in the state, wound up operations on June 30, 2001. The factory suspended production on May 10, 1999, following pollution- related issues.