Anantapur:Following hundreds of foreigners, mostly Koreans, settling in Penukonda town and surrounding villages and mandals closest to KIA Motors India unit, police has initiated steps to create awareness among the foreigners to avoid untoward incidents.
KIA motors’ vicinity including Penukonda town and connecting mandals and villages have turned into a Korean Township with several hotels, lodges and guest houses having Korean language, culture and cuisine along with roadside sign boards. The sign boards on NH 44 are more in Korean language than local languages.
Soon after the KIA unit got sanctioned and the state government handed over the barren lands near Erramanchi village on NH 44 Road in Penukonda mandal, the company began the construction of the KIA cars production unit, first of its kind in India.
At least 350 Koreans emigrated from South Korea on employment visas to Penukonda town and surrounding villages. Two years ago when the construction of the unit was started with the help of a local construction company to clear the barren lands and levelling of hills, about 300 Koreans arrived and were residing in the houses in Penukonda town.
House owners expecting more rents, hiked them by twice the amount in many areas and several land owners constructed new residential complexes by taking bank loans.
However, the Koreans have spread to interior villages after they found the rents were more reasonable than in the town. Presently, the Korean employees were residing in the surrounding villages of Penukonda, Somandepalli and CK Palli mandals.
Though, police records say about 350 Koreans were registered with Anantapur Special Branch and were residing in Anantapur district, many others were residing at Bengaluru city and travelling to the unit.
They were temporarily staying at the guest houses and the houses of their colleagues. While food habits and culture vary from local villages, the Anantapur SP G.V.G. Ashok Kumar was taking measures to create awareness among the foreign employees and also local people to avoid untoward incidents.
“We have top priority on the safety of foreign employees or tourists in the district and simultaneously they should also have minimum awareness on Indian Laws, local culture and traditions,” he observed and added the employees had to follow traffic norms including rules on drinking and driving.
Police have directed that the Korean employees could keep only permitted level of liquor bottles with them. It may be noted the Excise Task Force team had raided a hotel with Koreans after seizing a large number of liquor bottles three months ago.
Police also directed them not to come on the roads during late hours except on duty and important works. Further, the local police stations of Penukonda sub division were asked to get a detailed list of foreigners including name of the house or lodge owners to maintain records.
Even as Anantapur district has become a centre attracting foreigners, tourists and employees for the past three decades at Puttaparthi and the RDT organisation, the number of untoward incidents reported in this area has been low.
The devotees of Baba reside at Puttaparthi only and follow norms while the employees of RDT arrive on temporary Visas and they stay at the office premises. But in case of KIA Motors India and ancillary units, the employees are scattered and are residing in different villages....