Once pegged to be the world’s second largest auto testing track, the National Automotive Testing Tracks (NATRAX Indore) which was started in 4,300 acre land at Pithampur with an estimated cost of Rs. 500 crore in 2007, is yet to see the light of the day.
Being established by National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP), the centre is yet to receive certification facilities – a key component of the project.
Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), GoI is in the process of setting up 5 new test and certification centres for automobiles under NATRiP Project since year 2005. It had planned centres in Pithampur-Madhya Pradesh (NATRAX), Manesar-Haryana (ICAT -II), Silchar-Assam (NIAIMT),Rae-Bareilly -Uttar Pradesh ( NCVRS), Chennai-Tamil Nadu (GARC) respectively.
However, maximum amount of land has been acquired in Madhya Pradesh for NATRAX project i.e. approx 4,200 acres. 85 per cent of this land was private land for which state government has paid more than Rs. 550 cr. and still claims are pending. This is apart from government’s own land which bore no cost.
Recently the Chief Secretary Anthony De Sa also had summoned NATRiP Indore officials and argued the rationale of the project as the land cost has surged to around Rs 3,000 crore and the original cost of the project was Rs 500 crore.
The project was to be originally completed in 5 years, however, the project progress till now is approximately 10 per cent.
Due to heavy delay in completion of Auto Testing Track, it defeated the very purpose of project of attracting investments in Auto Sector in Pithampur Industrial Area, said Gautam Kothari, President Pithampur Audyogik Sangthan.