When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Aligarh recently for the stone-laying ceremony of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University, he touched upon Aligarh's famous lock industry.
PM Modi said that the region which was safeguarding India's houses till now will safeguard the country with its defence corridor.
An ambitious project, the defence corridor in Uttar Pradesh, was launched by PM Modi in 2018 and Aligarh is one of the six nodes of the corridor — Agra, Kanpur, Chitrakoot, Jhansi and Lucknow being the other five centres.
The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) is the nodal agency for the defence corridor project.
DEFENCE CORRIDOR IN ALIGARH GARNERED RS 1,500 CRORE INVESTMENT
The UPEIDA has established large land banks in the six nodes and in Aligarh alone, 20 companies have submitted proposals for setting up units and 19 have been allotted 55.40 hectares of land.
The companies have been able to cumulatively garner investments worth Rs 1,500 crores and 20,000 people will be employed with them in months to come.
Sources within UPEIDA told India Today that interest in the corridor is increasing and the state government is looking at allotting 30 acres more land in the Aligarh node as more investors have expressed a desire to set up their units.
DRONE MAKING COMPANIES TO INVEST RS 600 CRORES
Two companies - Encore Research Lab LLP and Allen and Alvan Private Limited - are investing Rs 600 crores to make drones. Ten hectares of land in Aligarh have been allocated to them.
Dhanjit Vadra, Managing Director, Allen Defence & Aerospace told India Today, "Till date, Aligarh node has been able to garner Rs 1,500 crore investment, this will shoot up to Rs 4,000 crores in days to come."
"Talks are going on with players who make defence equipment in France, Russia, the United States, Israel. Many joint ventures have been signed and many more are in the pipeline. Both the PM and the CM want to see these nodes flourish and the idea is to change India's position from an importer of defence equipment to an exporter," he added.
The land has been allotted to 20 companies so far. These companies will manufacture drones, guns, rifles, night vision goggles, ballistic helmets along with other equipment.
As per sources, the land will be allocated to 15 more companies that have shown interest.
Durgesh Upadhyay, a media advisor to the UPEIDA, said, "Land bank of 1,000 hectares has been created in Jhansi, about 100 hectares in Chitrakoot and about 250 hectares in Kanpur for the nodes. The state government has shown a 200-acre piece of land in Lucknow to BrahMos Aerospace, which is planning to set up a manufacturing unit there."
Dhanjit Vadra further said, "With work on the defence corridor moving at neck-breaking speed, many foreign investors and companies are showing interest. Recently, interest in the corridor was shown by the British High Commission too."
DEFENCE CORRIDOR: THE IDEA
The government has been giving land and electricity at concessional rates, constructing boundary walls of the factory for the corridor.
The land allotment has been done keeping in mind the distance from the main highway and airports. For example, land allocated in Aligarh is 20 minutes from the main highway.
In Jhansi, 15 hectares of land has been allocated to Delta Combat Systems Limited. The company is looking to set up a manufacturing unit of cartridges for assault, sniper and INSAS rifles. The investment by Delta Combat is Rs 150 crores.