Govt eyes HMT tractor unit revival

The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises is working out a plan to ‘revive’ the ‘now defunct’ facility of one of India’s biggest public sector enterprises Hindustan Machine Tools’ (HMT) tractor manufacturing unit at Pinjore near here. The ministry has invited firms for leasing and licensing the facility.

The move could offer some hope for employees at the unit who have so far not opted for the voluntary retirement scheme that has been subscribed by the majority. An option of lease by a private enterprise is being explored by the government. Earlier, the ministry had written to the Haryana government to take over the entire land of the unit.

Sources said that the government has invited the expression of interest by July 15, after which it would decide further strategy. The EoI talks about licensing and leasing of facilities for manufacturing and assembly of tractors, besides R&D.

The PSU shut down operations majorly last year, falling to competition and poor strategies. It was the first HMT unit to be established away from its Bengaluru factory way back in 1964. HMT had been suffering huge losses for several years. From a high production of nearly 19,000 tractors at one time in 1999, the production dropped to about 10% of its optimum production.

Revival plans in the past have proved futile. About twelve years ago, the Centre had approved Rs 1,083 crore for the revival of the unit, but to little effect. Close to 1,000 employees working at various levels have taken voluntary retirement. Spearheading a movement of sorts in the interest of HMT employees, Shivalik Vikas Manch president Vijay Bansal maintained that the government should not have shut the unit as employees have suffered.

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