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Why so much hue and cry on Amara Raja closure?

Why so much hue and cry on Amara Raja closure?

For the last three days, opposition Telugu Desam Party has been raising a hue and cry over the the decision of Amara Raja Batteries management to close down its units near Tirupati in Chittoor district and shift to Tamil Nadu.

The TDP leaders have been alleging that the company is being shifted to Tamil Nadu only due to witch-hunting by the YSR Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh just because the promoter of the company Galla Jayadev is a parliament member of the TDP.

But the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has made it clear that Amara Raja Batteries had blatantly violated the environmental norms and was causing high amounts of pollution and lead toxicity in the nearby areas. 

“Such polluting industries should not be there in the state. It is purely the company’s decision to move out of AP. If it agrees to cut down the pollution, we don’t mind allowing it to continue,” state government’s advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said.

But, the pro-TDP media like Andhra Jyothy has been raising a hue and cry over the Jagan government’s stand.

Andhra Jyothy even published the opinions of some locals, who claimed that they were not facing any pollution issues from Amara Raja factory and the closure was nothing but a political witch-hunt.

Sources in the government pointed out that Amara Raja had not only violated the pollution norms, but also defied the agreement signed with the government.

“The company was allotted 483.27 acres for a nominal rate of Rs 10.70 crore. The present market value of the land is around Rs 2,000 crore,” an official pointed out.

The Amara Raja group also claimed in the agreement that it would set up a digital city in part of the land at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

“It also promised to provide employment to 20,000 people, but gave jobs to only 4,310. When there are so many violations, how can any government allow it?” he asked.

The company authorities say they had bought the land at the market rate prevailing in 2008; so, it cannot be compared with the present market value.

Secondly, it had given employment to over 15,000 employees and more jobs would be created as the company expands.

“Last year, the Jagan government took back 253.61 acres out of 483 acres of land allotted to Amara Raja, on the ground of non-utilisation of the land for developing Amara Raja Infratech.

So, what is left with the factory is only 230 acres,” the company official said.

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