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Laziness has a cost. It is Rs 42,69,00,000

, Bangalore Mirror Bureau|
Updated: Dec 09, 2019, 12.32 PM IST
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The project was supposed to be completed by August 9, 2017 but the work on the project did not begin till then.

Highlights

  • Centre withdraws approval for Aerospace park project
  • The Aerospace Common Finishing Facility was supposed to be completed by Aug 9, 2017. Since bhoomi pooja itself happened in Feb 2018, Centre saw no merit in granting funds for it
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 09, 2019)
When things go wrong, it’s common for state governments to pass on the buck to the Central government and cry about lack of funds allocated by the latter. But in this case, it’s quite the opposite. The Karnataka government has failed to utilize Rs 42.69 crore sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the establishment of the Aerospace Common Finishing Facility (ACFF) at Aerospace Park near Devanahalli.

As a result the Union Ministry has withdrawn the sanction of the above project and asked the Karnataka government to refund the Central grant of Rs 12.807 crore along with applicable penal interest.

Approval given in 2015
The ACFF was envisaged as per the Aerospace Policy 2013-23 of Government of Karnataka. It was slated to be equipped with heat treatment, plating, surface treatment and common testing facilities to benefit hundreds of small-scale units in Bengaluru and adjoining areas.

The final approval for the ACFF was given on August 10, 2015 at an estimated cost of Rs 90.50 crore involving Central grant of Rs 42.69 crore under Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS).

The project was supposed to be completed by August 9, 2017 but the work on the project did not begin till then. Finally, the ground-breaking ceremony was held in the presence of the then Minister for Large and Medium Industries R V Deshpande on February 27, 2018.

Shrinking land
As per the plan, the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), in a meeting held on March 25, 2017, decided to establish the ACFF on 42.50 acres of land. Again the plan was revised during a meeting held on September 22, 2017 under the Chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department. It was decided to establish the ACFF on 10 acres of land instead of 42.50 acres.

Again, one more meeting was held under the chairmanship of Minister for Large & Medium Industries on February 6, 2018. The meeting decided to earmark only five acres of land for establishing the ACFF.

However, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry wrote a letter to the Managing Director of the KIADB withdrawing the final approval given to set up the Aerospace Common Finishing Facility project under Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme, because of the many delays.

“The project was required to be completed by August 9, 2017. However, there is hardly any progress in this project even after more than three and half years and a number of issues are yet to be resolved,’’ said S K Jain, Development Officer, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade said in a letter dated March 18, 2019.

Jain said that only the first instalment amounting to Rs 12.807 crore out of approved central grant of Rs 42.69 crore has been released so far and as per the scheme guidelines, the project is not likely to even be eligible for the release of the 2nd instalment in the current financial year. He said the MIIUS is valid for completion of existing project up to March 2019 and there is no budgetary provision for providing financial assistance after March 31, 2019.

“As no purpose would be served by extending the time period for completion of this project beyond March 31, 2019, it has been decided by this Department to withdraw the sanction of the above cited project. You are also directed to refund the Central grant of Rs 12.807 crore along with applicable penal interest by way of cheque/DD in favour of Pay and Accounts Officer, DPIIT at the earliest,’’ he said in the letter.

Meanwhile, Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) Aerospace, Aviation Expert Committee chairman Ashok Saxena said the withdrawal of Central funds for the ACFF would be a great loss for hundreds of small-scale industries.

“The ACFF is a must have if the government wants to encourage the aerospace industry. The delay in establishing the ACFF is a great loss for aerospace manufacturing industry but it is not too late. The state government has to bear the entire cost,’’ said Rakesh Saxena.

KIADB Chief Executive Officer and Executive Member H Basavarajendra said that he has to collect the information from his subordinates on the issue.

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