Maharashtra is witnessing a political firestorm following the decision of multinational mining company Vedanta Limited to set up a $20 billion Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor manufacturing facility in neighbouring Gujarat, despite finalising its location at Talegaon near Pune.
Leader of Opposition and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar wrote to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde requesting him to bring back the project to the State. In his letter, Mr. Pawar said that everything was finalised for it to be in Maharashtra, but was shifted to Gujarat under 'political pressure'. “This (MoU between Vedanta-Foxconn and Gujarat government) will be a blow to the economic development of Maharashtra,” the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
He asked his former colleague, Mr. Shinde, to make all efforts to bring back the semiconductor plant to Maharashtra from Gujarat and said it was an effort to financially deprive the State.
Mr. Pawar claimed that the project was important for the industrial growth and future of the State, and would have helped in getting more GST. “Take the required steps and ensure that the project doesn’t go out of State,” he wrote to the Chief Minister.
The Opposition slammed the Shinde-Fadnavis government for losing out on the project and alleged the State government came under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave away the $20 billion project with a potential of about one lakh jobs to Gujarat which will go for Assembly polls in December.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Ambadas Danve claimed that Gujarat did not have the infrastructure required for it (semiconductor plant) and hence was not even in competition for the project. He said that Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka were competing for the Foxconn-Vedanta semiconductor manufacturing plant.
“It requires a very high-end technology environment, hence these three States were competing with each other,” Mr. Danve said, adding that Gujarat doesn’t have such infrastructure, so it was not even in the competition.
State Congress president Nana Patole alleged that Mr. Shinde was only a ‘dummy’ Chief Minister and administration of Maharashtra was being run on the advice of Modi-Shah.
He said that he won't be surprised if Shinde-Fadnavis gave away Mumbai to Gujarat in future. “Eknath Shinde is only a dummy Chief Minister, and State government giving away the project to Gujarat amounts to committing dishonesty with Maharashtra,” Mr. Patole alleged.
“BJP leaders are blaming the MVA government for the fact that the ED government slept until this big project was taken from Maharashtra to Gujarat,” he said.
The senior Congress leader said that between 2014 and 2019 when present Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis was Chief Minister, the proposed international finance centre in Mumbai, Dockyard, diamond trade were moved to Gujarat and now Foxconn.
Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the State will get a similar project or even a better one.
Industries Minister Uday Samant said Mr. Shinde spoke to the Prime Minister on Tuesday after the Vedanta-Foxconn signed an MoU with the Gujarat government. He alleged the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation was responsible for the loss as it sat on the project offer for seven months whereas the new government approved incentives worth ₹38,831 crore in July.