The Telangana government on Wednesday urged the Centre to reconsider its decision to set up a defence industrial production corridor in Uttar Pradesh, saying that Hyderabad-Bengaluru is the ideal location for the project.
Industries Minister K. T. Rama Rao said the Centre should rise above political considerations and political agenda to encourage progressive states like Telangana.
He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for VEM Technologies’s Integrated Defence Systems at National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ), Zaheerabad in Sangareddy district.
He recalled that he had requested then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to approve a defence industrial production corridor between Hyderabad and Bengaluru as they have the required ecosystem for the project.
He pointed out that Hyderabad has many defence public sector undertakings and more than 1,000 small and medium companies, while Bengaluru has HAL and Air Force-related institutions. If a defence industrial production corridor is created here, it will benefit districts like Mahabubnagar, Rangareddy and Wanaparthy in Telangana, Kurnool and Anantapur districts in Andhra Pradesh.
He said that if the defence industry is to gain impetus and a slogan like ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ is to be translated into reality, the Centre should reconsider its decision.
“It should set up the corridor at a place where there is an ecosystem. If you set it up in Uttar Pradesh because you have votes and seats and political preferences there, it won’t work,” he said.
“Even in Hyderabad, this did not happen overnight. The PSUs have been in existence for decades, creating a favourable environment for the growth of the sector,” he said.
KTR also told the Centre that when major global companies come to invest, they look at places where there is infrastructure and they see how soon they get return on investment. “They don’t see states or cities while deciding to invest. They look at the countries and what they offer in terms of infrastructure and ecosystem,” he said.
VEM will invest Rs. 1,000 crore in the facility coming up on 511 acres in NIMZ. This is billed as the largest investment in the private sector in the defence manufacturing industry in India. The unit will employ 2,000 people in the next five years.
VEM is a defence and aerospace company that offers end-to-end technology solutions and systems for various weapon systems for land, air, and naval applications.
One of the top five defence companies in India, VEM will manufacture weapons systems and defence equipment like anti-tank guided missiles, small arms, sniper rifles, unmanned aerial system, underwater weapons systems and radars at their unit at NIMZ.
The work on the unit will start in August and the unit is expected to commence production in 2024-25.