Under flak for losing out on the mega Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project to Gujarat, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday said Prime minister Narendra Modi has assured the state will get a similar project or even a better one.
Talking to reporters in Thane, a day after Gujarat bagged the project, state industries minister Uday Samant alleged the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi dispensation was responsible for the loss as it sat on the project offer for seven months whereas the new government approved incentives worth Rs 38,831 crore in July.
He said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to the prime minister on Tuesday after the Vedanta-Foxconn signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gujarat government to set up a semiconductor and display manufacturing unit in the state.
The project was proposed to come up in Maharashtra but Vedanta-Foxconn picked Gujarat, triggering a political blame game.
"The then MVA government sat on the project offer for seven months. On January 7, 2020, the then industries minister of Maharashtra declared that Vedanta-Foxconn was not interested in coming to Maharashtra. Other states including Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Karnataka wanted the project to come up in their states," Samant said.
He said the MVA government was never serious about the semiconductor project, which was supposed to come up at Talegaon near Pune, as it never formed a high-powered committee and decided on incentive packages to be offered.
"The delay and folly of the MVA government led to the project going to Gujarat," Samant alleged.
After the Eknath Shide-Devendra Fadnavis government came to power on June 30 this year, they reviewed the project and expedited the process.
Samant said a high-powered committee under the new government on July 15 approved the package of incentives worth Rs 38,831 crore.
"We are also feeling sad over losing the project. We are sorry. On Tuesday, the chief minister put forth his views before the prime minister on Vednata (Foxconn semi-conductor project). The CM held a detailed discussion with the prime minister on this matter. The PM has assured the youth that a similar project, or a better one, will be given to Maharashtra,” Samant said.
The minister claimed that discussions for finalising the project for Maharashtra were going on for the last eight months and meetings were also held in Davos.
He also said the Centre and the Shinde government are committed to addressing the unemployment issues.
Samant said a state delegation led by Shinde and Fadnavis will meet the prime minister in the next 8 to 15 days and will try to get a project for the state.
Shiv Sena leader and former minister Aaditya Thackeray had said the project was almost finalised by the erstwhile MVA government but the current dispensation has lost the confidence of potential investors.
A joint venture of the Indian conglomerate Vedanta and Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn signed an MoU with the Gujarat government on Tuesday to set up a semiconductor and display manufacturing unit in the state.
Vedanta-Foxconn would invest Rs 1,54,000 crore to set up the facility, which would create one lakh job opportunities.
Samant said factoring in the recent experience and delay, the Industries department will adopt a time-bound plan to approve new projects in the state.
"A Rs 3.50 lakh crore refinery was supposed to be set up in Maharashtra. The Centre had approved this project but some people are spreading misinformation. They should answer why it was delayed," Samant said taking potshots at Shiv Sena.
He said the Shinde-Fadnavis government will come up with definite solutions to address the issue of unemployment in the state.
"We will support industries to carry on operations at district and other levels. Recently, Union minister Nitin Gadkari held a meeting which decided to set up logistics parks in different cities in Maharashtra including Pune, Jalgaon, Bhiwandi, Sambaji Nagar etc. This will generate considerable employment opportunities," the minister said.