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BHEL-BEL may set up Rs 2000 crores unit at Fab City

HYDERABAD: Two Navaratna PSUs Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) have formed a joint venture to manufacture solar wafers, cells and modules to meet domestic as well as export demands. The unit is likely to come up on 70 acres at Fab City, which never really took off.

The project envisages setting up of a manufacturing facility with a capital investment of Rs 2,000 crore and will provide direct employment to 1,000 people. A high-level team of officials recently visited the city to identify possible location for the plant.

Sources said the team identified about 70 acres in Fab City as the ideal location. It was said to have expressed satisfaction over the land as it is located in an SEZ meant for similar industries and also because of its close proximity to the international airport. Another positive point is, the official say, BHEL has a major unit in the city.

"Fab City is an ideal location for setting up any semiconductor and PV panel manufacturing facility as several similar facilities have already started functioning. This will enable the board of the joint venture to finalise Hyderabad as possible destination,"sources said.

BHEL and BEL had joined hands to form the joint venture to enter the domain of semiconductors and solar panel manufacturing in 2008. Since then, the new venture has been on the look out for a suitable location. After studying the facilities such as power and water, the high-level team was said to have expressed preference for Hyderabad. "The team has submitted its proposals to the board for concurrence on the location in Fab City. We are awaiting for their response,"the sources added.

As per the proposal submitted to the state, the project will have 250 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) production facility for processing silicon wafers, solar cells and PV modules in new plant. Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy reportedly gave the go-ahead to provide all the required facilities to the public sector unit.

This is the second such major public sector venture to come to Andhra Pradesh in the past two years, the first being the joint venture unit of BHEL and NTPC. The BHEL-NTPC joint venture has set up its first unit to manufacture equipments for the power plants at Mannavaram near Srikalahasti in Chittoor district with an outlay of Rs 6,000 crore.

The sources said the government would de-notify 80 acres at Fab City to hand over it to the BHEL-BEL joint venture, once they get the go-ahead from BHEL-BEL board.

Source: TOI 24/1/11