Automobile maker invited to set up plant

Searching for ideas: Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan at a workshop held by the CII in Puducherry on Friday. From right, M. Nandakumar, CII Puducherry chairman; P. Pravimal Abhishek, assistant collector; and M. Kalaichelvan, Puducherry CII vice-chairman are with him.

U.K.-based automobile manufacturer Laureti has evinced interest in setting up a manufacturing facility for electric sports utility vehicles in the Union Territory with an investment of ₹2,800 crore.

Speaking to The Hindu, Revenue and Transport Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan said: “Ngotiations will take place with a high-level delegation of the company during its visit to Puducherry later this month.”

The automobile manufacturer had held discussions with the Chief Minister and Mr. Shahjahan in this regard.

“There has been a positive response and the company has announced that Puducherry will be the destination for their proposed factory. Though the automotive manufacturer has not given anything in writing, it will be coming up with a wish list soon. The company is keen on Puducherry having an electric vehicle policy,” Mr. Shahjahan said.

The Puducherry government would do whatever possible to facilitate the company to set up a factory here. The company was keen on port connectivity for export of cars. As many as 350 acres of land was available in Karaikal, which already had a developed port.

The company officials would inspect the site. On completion, the plant would manufacture 10,000 electric vehicles a year, which would be exported to various countries, he said.

The government is planning to have a tie-up with Volvo for introducing additional buses on lease in Puducherry. The government-owned Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) had not been able to acquire more buses and the operation of the vehicles remained difficult as the corporation had been incurring losses.