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Volkswagen for change in location?

Special Correspondent

Company's legal representatives arriving today for discussions on the car unit Auto major's representatives arriving today for talks


  • Legal team to discuss deal aspects, including CBI probe
  • Company plays it safe, does not want any new controversies
  • Tada on Andhra-Tamil Nadu border may be the likely venue
  • Small airport at Visakhapatnam seen as a stumbling block

    HYDERABAD: The fate of Volkswagen's car unit in Andhra Pradesh will be decided on Thursday with the arrival of legal representatives of the German auto major to the city.

    A two-member team of attorneys of the company led by Alfred Strohlein will be reaching Hyderabad in the early hours to discuss the issue with the officials concerned. Earlier, former German Ambassador to India Frank Elbe, who recently replaced Helmut Schuster as Indian representative of Volkswagen, had reiterated that the company would not go back on its commitment to Andhra Pradesh.

    The legal team will discuss with Industries Department officials various aspects of the deal, including the ongoing CBI probe into the Volkswagen scam. As the company tries to refurbish its image, which has been dented due to the illegal dealings of Mr. Schuster, reports indicate that it is considering shifting the unit from Visakhaptnam following allegations of real estate boom around the proposed site.

    Sources admit that though it has no plans to go back on its commitment, the company certainly does not want any new controversies now leading to negative publicity. Andhra Pradesh Government officials have already been cautioned on this score.

    Tada being considered

    Commissioner of Industries Suteertha Bhattacharya and Executive Director of the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) Ram Gopal had planned to leave for Germany in the last week of September on Volkswagen's invitation. But they could not make it as they were posted as observers for the Bihar Assembly elections.

    On its part, the State Government is willing to provide facilities similar to those offered at Visakhapatnam if the company opts for it.

    Among the places that the company might evince interest in case it prefers a shift in the venue will be Tada on Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border due to the proximity of the Chennai airport to the location. The small airport at Visakhapatnam is seen as a stumbling block in this matter.

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