Work on India’s first and the world’s longest high-speed testing track for automobiles in Indore’s Pithampur is likely to face another roadblock, with the state government is mulling demanding a huge portion of land back.
Nearly 150 villagers have surrendered their land for the project, and a total of 3,790 acres of has been acquired, of which 1,000 acres have handed over by the state government and 2,700 acres was acquired from villagers.
The state has allocated 4,120 acres of land to the special purpose project, the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infra-structure Project (Natrip). Work on the project, which will comprise 14 test tracks, is already behind schedule.
“We will soon float a proposal to withdraw a minimum of 1,000 acres of land from the Pithampur auto-testing project. It has come to our knowledge that they have taken surplus land,” PK Dash, additional chief secretary, state industries department, told Business Standard.
However, a well-placed source in the company said, “Natrip Indore has not received any proposal for land-related demand from the state government. Only the Union industry ministry will respond to it, as the land has been handed over to it.”
The Madhya Pradesh industry department is facing a shortage of land and is acquiring it wherever available, to showcase it in the forthcoming Global Investors Summit to be organised in Indore during October 28-30. “We need land for creating industrial infrastructure and surplus auto-testing ground is the best location,” Dash added.
The auto-proving ground in Pithampur has been the largest and one of the most significant initiatives in the automotive sector so far. It will be a state-of-the-art testing, validation, and research and development infrastructure.
According to a well-placed source, a boundary wall of the track has been constructed. Moreover, construction of storage space, maintenance workshop, client workshop, vehicle dynamics lab and power-train lab is also in progress. Yet the project is a year behind its schedule. It was expected to be completed in 2011.
The Natrip source further said, “If there is any surplus land, it would be used in further expansion.”
The high-speed test track will be 14km long with two stretches of 6km each, which will have high-speed testing for a vehicle at a maximum of 350 km/hour. The track will also have a crash-testing track, pass-by noise track, straight-line braking surfaces, gradient tracks,a two-wheeler high-speed circuit, accelerated fatigue tracks, corrosion and durability racks, a ride and handling circuit, a hill route track, an airbag abuse track, and a platform to test and certify vehicles ranging from two- and four-wheelers to heavy trucks and multi-axle vehicles.