CCEA may discuss NATRiP completion date extension today

So far, only 60 percent work has been completed at different centres due to various hurdles.

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is expected on Wednesday to take up the issue of extending the completion date of the Rs 2,288-crore National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) to next year end.

"The CCEA is likely to take up the issue of revising the completion date of projects of NATRiP as December 31, 2014 from the earlier date of December 31, 2012," sources said.

So far, only 60 percent work has been completed at different centres due to various hurdles, including delays in acquisition of land at different sites, delays in clearances and shifting of utilities, they said, adding: "now, these issues have been resolved and the project is expected to be completed by December, 2014."

Under the Rs 2,288 crore NATRiP plan, there was a proposal to upgrade three existing automotive testing and R&D centres viz. (VRDE) at Ahmednagar, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) at Pune and International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) at Manesar.

Besides, setting up four greenfield centres at Chennai, Indore, Silchar and Rae Bareilly for automotive testing, homologation and R&D.

NATRiP is a flagship project of the Department of Heavy Industry and it is one of the largest and the most significant initiatives in automotive sector so far.

"Till now, work on two projects has been completed. It included upgradation at VRDE at Ahmednagar and setting up of greenfield centre at Silchar," sources said.

The completion of these projects will ensure that full bouquet of automotive testing and R&D facilities are available for introduction of higher emission and safety norms by 2015.

This will also contribute to lowering of vehicular emissions and improve vehicle safety. The project will also lead to manifold increase in the growth of the automotive sector and its contribution to national economy.