The state government has granted 610 acres to HAL in Tumakuru district for setting up units for the premier defence public sector undertaking's light utility helicopter, the naval multi-role helicopter and Indian multi-role helicopter. According to a gazette notification issued on November 6, HAL will invest Rs 4,000 crore and provide employment to 3,000 people. HAL has an estimated manufacturing capacity of 50 helicopters in a financial year.
HAL was established as Hindustan Aircraft in Bangalore in 1940 by Seth Walchand Hirachand to produce military aircraft for the Royal Indian Air Force. For the past 75 years, HAL has played a key role towards country's security measures. The PSU had approached the state government seeking allotment of 610 acre land near Tumakuru near Bidarehalla Kaval in Gubbi taluk to set up units to boost its helicopter manufacturing capacity.
Chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee had several rounds of talks with the HAL officials and finally decided to allot the 610 acres of land under Karnataka land allotment rules, 1969.
The state government has charged Rs 1 lakh per acre before deciding to hand over the land to HAL. It has also asked HAL to give priority to local people for employment during the recruiting process.
Sources in government said that the unit would roll out its first helicopter in the next three years. One of the senior officers who attended the high-power meeting said that before the full-fledged work begins at the Tumakuru HAL unit, water would be drawn from Hemavathi canal for the initial stages, while subsequently a large tank would be constructed near the site itself for Hemavathi canal waters to be fed into it.
According to the officials, the project will be implemented in a phased manner.
HAL has decided to invest Rs 4,000 crore initially, and later, every year it will be investing Rs 2,000 crore. The unit will be manufacturing light helicopters for Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Indian Navy.
The existing Bengaluru units of HAL manufacture helicopters weighing around 5,800 kg. The Tumakuru units will manufacture helicopters weighing around 3,000 kg.
These light helicopters are considered suitable for surveillance, rescue operations and special operations that involve small teams of soldiers. Each of these will have a seating capacity of four-six persons.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Gubbi tahsildar Siddappa said, "Already the deputy commissioner has ordered us to hand over the land to HAL. The process is completed. There are nine farmers who need to be compensated with alternative lands as their lands have been acquired for the project. From Monday, we will mark the boundaries for HAL's unit. Once the process is over, we will hand over the land to them."
"Bescom has been asked to shift the high-tension electric towers and the work would commence soon and HAL has agreed to pay the fees to the respective departments," he added.