- Sharad Pawar says Vedanta-Foxconn plant should not have gone out of Maharashtra
- He said there is no hope now that the big-ticket project will come back to the state
- The plant will now be set up in Gujarat and not in Maharashtra as proposed earlier
Vedanta-Foxconn Plant: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Thursday said the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant should not have gone out of Maharashtra, but there was no hope now of the big-ticket project coming back to the state after the joint venture company opted for Gujarat.
The Opposition parties have sought to corner the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government following the announcement two days ago that the Rs 1.54 lakh crore semiconductor plant would be set up in neighbouring Gujarat and not in Maharashtra as proposed earlier.
Addressing a press conference, Pawar said the Centre's assurance to Maharashtra that it will get a bigger project than the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant was is akin to trying to "convince a child". He said the mega project was originally envisaged to come up at Talegaon near Pune city, which already has an automobile hub near Chakan.
It would have been good for the company (Vedanta-Foxconn) had the plant come up at Talegaon, said the former Union minister.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress also alleged that the Vedanta-Foxconn project has been shifted to Gujarat under pressure from the central government even as the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had offered a better package to the company to set up the plant.
The project has been moved to Dholera in Gujarat, although it is an "inconvenient" place as compared to Talegaon near Pune, where it was earlier planned to be set up, state Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant claimed in a statement, adding that the move will harm the country as there is a possibility of the project getting stalled.
A blame-game has begun in Maharashtra following the announcement two days ago that the joint venture semiconductor project of the Indian conglomerate Vedanta and Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, proposed to be set up near Pune earlier, will come up in Gujarat.
"Even as the previous MVA government's offer for a better package than Gujarat, the Vedanta Foxconn project has gone to Dholera under pressure from the central government. Since Dholera is an inconvenient place, many companies, including ISMC Digital, which proposed manufacturing semiconductors just like Vedanta-Foxconn have chosen to withdraw from the same place," he said.
Moving the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project to Dholera will not only harm Maharashtra, but also the country, Sawant alleged.
The Congress leader claimed that as per the internal report of Vedanta company, Talegaon in Maharashtra was the suitable place for this semiconductor project.
A comparative study of both Talegaon and Dholera was conducted, and Dholera was given less preference citing various reasons like lack of water supply, skilled labours, electronics manufacturing ecosystem, absence of supply chain vendors and secondary manufacturers and also marshy land, he said.
"Even though Maharashtra had offered many concessions, including more capital subsidy than Gujarat, the decision to move the project to Dholera has been made only under the pressure of the central government," Sawant alleged.
When Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, he had announced many non-feasible projects in his state and wasted thousands of crores of rupees from the taxpayer's money, he claimed.
"Recently, three companies had applied when a proposal was invited for semiconductor manufacturing with an estimated investment of USD 10 billion in the country. One of them, ISMC Digital, was supposed to come up at Dholera. But this company has fled Dholera due to lack of facilities and water availability. Interestingly, the Gujarat government had entered into an MoU with this company," Sawant said.
According to him, Jiophone, a joint project of Google and Reliance, left Dholera and moved to Tirupati. Earlier, Lockheed Martin Corporation withdrew from the solar battery project. Hindustan Construction Company had entered into an MoU to build a waterfront city worth Rs 40,000 crore at Dholera.
But after paying some money for the place, it withdrew.
Lashing out at the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government for losing the project, Sawant said it would have provided employment to the people of Maharashtra and income to the country.
"There is a possibility now that project would be stalled for a long time due to the stubborn attitude of the central government. Just like Dholera, GIFT City project (in Gujarat) was also stalled. International Financial Services Centre, which was to come in Maharashtra was moved there as soon as Modi government came to power. The financial centre would have brought a huge investment to Maharashtra benefitting all. But the central government did not allow it to happen," the Congress leader alleged.
When Modi was the chief minister, his government forced the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation to take Rs 10,000 crore worth of bonds, showing that it had found gas reserves. No gas was found ultimately and the company became debt-ridden. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was forced to buy GSPC by the Modi government, he said.
"PM Modi has claimed to have promised Maharashtra a bigger project than Foxconn, but the state does not need his grace for such a big project," Sawant said.
"Maharashtra has always remained number one in the field of industry on its own merits. It is unfortunate that BJP leaders are weakening the state to fulfil Modi's dream of making Gujarat successful by snatching projects from Maharashtra," Sawant said.
(With inputs from PTI)