Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (Image: PTI/File)
As Gujarat bagged a mega Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project, the opposition in Maharashtra on Tuesday slammed the Eknath Shinde-led government for the state “losing” out on the Rs 1,54,000-crore venture with the Congress alleging something “sinister” behind the change of location and the NCP saying the plant was “snatched” away.
Indian conglomerate Vedanta and Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn jointly inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gujarat government on Tuesday in Gandhinagar to set up a semiconductor and display manufacturing unit in Gujarat. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the main opposition outfit, accused the neighbouring state, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of snatching morsel from Maharashtra’s mouth.
State NCP president and former minister Jayant Patil said with the big-ticket project slipping away from the hands of Maharashtra, the state has lost an investment potential of more than Rs one lakh crore. Taking an aim at Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, whose government is being supported by the BJP, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), when it was in power, had “very strongly” pursued this project.
It was almost decided that the plant will come up in Maharashtra, said Aaditya Thackeray, who served as a cabinet minister in the erstwhile MVA government headed by the Shiv Sena. Our MVA government had brought this to the final stage. The current dispensation has lost the confidence of potential investors, hence such mega projects are not coming here,” he said.
Aaditya Thackeray said the mega project would have supported 160 ancillary industries and generated 70,000 to 1 lakh employment opportunities. He said the previous MVA government was in touch with the company and a meeting had also taken place with its representatives in January this year.
“The new dispensation tweeted photos, claiming to have brought this (project) to Maharashtra but it seems intent or commitment was to send this away from Maharashtra, said Aaditya Thackeray. Company officials also visited the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra and finally Talegaon (in Pune district) was identified as the possible site for the factory, he said.
Slamming the Shinde-led dispensation, which took office on June 30, the junior Thackeray said, What was the government doing? What was the industries minister doing? On July 26, the CMO tweeted that the plant will come up in Maharashtra. Vedanta, an oil-to-metals conglomerate, and Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn will make one of the largest-ever investments of Rs 1.54 lakh crore in setting up India’s first semiconductor plant in Gujarat.
The 60:40 joint venture of Vedanta-Foxconn will set up a semiconductor fabrication plant, a display unit, and a semiconductor assembling and testing facility on 1,000 acres of land in the Ahmedabad district. As Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra do not get time from holding political meetings, Gujarat has once again taken away the morsel from Maharashtra’s mouth. With the Gujarat elections coming up, the BJP in Maharashtra seems busy in safeguarding the interests of Gujarat, NCP leader Patil said in a series of tweets.
Will Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) apologise to the educated unemployed youth of the state for losing out on the project? he asked. Patil, who was a senior minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), when in power, had pursued the investment. A delegation of the company (JV) recently met the Chief Minister and Deputy CM of Maharashtra.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and former industries minister Subhash Desai sought to blame the Centre for the project going to Gujarat. This is shocking. The Centre’s word is important on such important investments. I am also raising a question about how many such industries will go from Maharashtra to other states, especially Gujarat? Desai asked.
The Chief Minister’s Office on July 26 tweeted, “A delegation of Vedanta Group and Foxconn Company met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at Mantralaya this morning. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was present on this occasion. On this occasion, the Chief Minister said that Vedanta Company will be given full support for investment to promote semiconductor and display fabrication production in the state,” the CMO had said.
Discussions about setting up Foxconn’s semiconductor plant in Maharashtra were almost complete but something “sinister” took place which made the company shift the location to Gujarat, Congress leader and former state minister Balasaheb Thorat claimed. The Foxconn plant was expected to bring an investment of nearly Rs 1.58 lakh crore to Maharashtra. Ninety percent of our discussions regarding the plant had been completed,” said Thorat, who was the revenue minister in the MVA government.
Something sinister took place which made the company shift its plant from Maharashtra to Gujarat. Nearly one lakh new employment opportunities would have been created with this plant,” he added without elaborating on the “sinister” charge. Thorat wanted to know what CM Shinde and deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis did to keep the project in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said it needs to be probed how the state lost out on the project.”This plant was to come up at Talegaon near Pune. How did a project with the potential to generate large-scale employment slipped from Maharashtra’s hands? This is a serious issue and this needs to be probed thoroughly. Maharashtra was the priority state for investors and investment going away from the state like this is not a good sign. This has to be considered by going beyond politics,” Raj Thackeray tweeted.