Project Volkswagen rolls again

Hyderabad: Last week a four-member team of Volkswagen legal experts led by their project leader Peter Walters visited the Mambattu village near Tada in Nellore district in the south eastern tip of Andhra Pradesh to inspect 500 acres of land, just 60km away from Chennai.

The site adjacent to multinational glassmaker St.Gobain's India unit seems to have attracted the Germans. The VW team has now returned to Germany. Happily for the state government, VW's India representative and goodwill ambassador, Frank Elbee, Germany's diplomat to India, personally came to invite Indian officials to visit VW's headquarters at Wolfsberg in Germany to take the project further.

The state advisor on industrial promotion and investments, D A Somayajulu confirmed that an official team of the AP state government would leave for Germany by the first week of December, if not earlier.

"The ball is in their court now. We have done whatever we can do to get the project to AP. No other state government can better our offers and utilities," he told this correspondent last week.

The efforts to bag the Volkswagen India car project began in earnest in 2003 when the AP government sent a team of officials, headed by the then industry minister K Vidyadhar Rao, to Wolfsberg twice. But subsequent elections in India and change of guard both at the centre and the state level led to the project being put in cold storage.

The subsequent industry minister B Satynarayana led by officials including the then industry secretary K V Rao, pursued the project vigorously.