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Investment blow: Reliance pulls out its 15K-crore electronics-making project from AP

In what appears to be a fresh blow to industrial growth in Andhra Pradesh, Reliance Industries has withdrawn from its Rs.15,000 crore electronics manufacturing hub near Tirupati after the land procurement process got stalled, government officials said.
 
Reliance had signed an MoU in February 2018 with the then TDP government to manufacture mobile phones, television sets and set-top boxes among other electronic gadgets in 150 acres at Renigunta. Reliance had planned to manufacture 10 million mobiles annually from the plant.
 
While the industries department, APIIC and Chittoor district administration began to procure land in Yerpedu and Renigunta mandals ahead of 2019 elections, the process hit a wall when 12 farmers, who were not happy with the government’s compensation package, moved court and subsequently got a stay.
 
CITU’s mandal in-charge Sheik Karimullah, who represented the farmers’ case, said that revenue officials from Yerpedu had stormed into their village prior to polls to procure land for the manufacturing plant.
 
“Despite protests by farmers, they served notices. Local police also threatened to book cases against farmers for obstructing government officials from discharging their duties. All our pleas fell on deaf ears and the 12 farmers subsequently filed writ petitions in the HC and eventually got stay orders,” Karimullah added.
 
He said farmers were happy to part with their land as they felt their children would get jobs, but they were against the disparity in compensation package. Revenue officials segregated lands under three different categories — A, B and C — and offered compensation of 3 lakh, 7 lakh and 15 lakh under the three categories. But this was not acceptable to farmers.
 
“A compensation of 15 lakh per acre was provided to farmers who parted with their lands for TCL, which is at a stone’s throw away from the proposed Reliance site. But they were offering us less. The farmers demanded 21.5 lakh per acre, but officials were not willing to pay and we were forced to move court,” Karimullah added.
 
“My father has 3.33 acres here and the APIIC gave us Rs 50.7 lakh at 15.25 lakh per acre without obtaining our consent. I too filed a writ petition along with other farmers and obtained a stay order,” he pointed out.
 
According to sources, though an out-of-court settlement was tried, the farmers were clear they wanted Rs. 21.5 lakh per acre.

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