Vedanta-Foxconn Project: CM not serious about state's development: Opposition targets Maha CM Eknath Shinde
A major controversy has erupted in Maharashtra after Indian mining conglomerate Vedanta and Taiwanese manufacturing behemoth Foxconn signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat state government on Tuesday to locate the project there instead of Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Opposition Leader and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar wrote to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday, alleging that the Vedanta-Foxconn project was likely shifted to Gujarat due to 'political pressure.' In his letter to CM Shinde, Pawar requested that the CM continue his efforts to bring the project back to Maharashtra. "This is an attempt to deprive Maharashtra financially," he said.
A major controversy has erupted in the state after an Indian mining conglomerate Vedanta and Taiwanese manufacturing behemoth Foxconn signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government on Tuesday to locate the project there. According to reports, the joint venture had 'almost completed' its Rs 1.54 lakh crore investment plant in Talegaon phase IV near Pune.
The Opposition claims that the Maharashtra government caved in under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from Gujarat, and handed over the project eyeing the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections. "The state government must take the necessary steps while ensuring that the project does not leave Maharashtra," Ajit Pawar said in the letter.
The NCP questioned whether allowing the Vedanta-Foxconn project to move to Gujarat was the price Eknath Shinde paid to secure the position of Chief Minister. Shinde led a group of Shiv Sena rebel MLAs who allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party to destabilise the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition and form the current government. "Is CM Shinde serving the interests of Maharashtra or the interests of Gujarat?" asked Mahesh Tapase, the NCP's chief spokesperson.
Earlier on Tuesday, Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Limited and Foxconn signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Gujarat government to establish a semiconductor and display FAB manufacturing unit in the state with an investment of more than Rs 1.54 lakh crores. Soon after the news broke out, the Opposition targeted the Chief Minister over the sudden shift.
This shows CM Shinde's lax attitude toward the state's development as he surrendered to Gujarat at the expense of economic loss to Maharashtra and job loss to lakhs of job seekers, Tapase said, adding that it is unfortunate that the newly elected government was unable to keep Vedanta-Foxconn in Maharashtra.
He claimed that the chief minister is preoccupied with justifying his rebellion, to the people of Maharashtra and doesn't talk about development issues like employment and industrialisation. "He owes an explanation to the Maharashtra people," Tapase insisted.
The state Congress president, Nana Patole, said he would not be surprised if Mumbai goes to Gujarat in the future. "This project was moved to Gujarat because Maharashtra's BJP leaders are more concerned with pleasing their bosses in Delhi. They want the blessings of their Gujarati leaders to continue. I wouldn't be surprised if Mumbai goes to Gujarat tomorrow. In Maharashtra, such a situation has arisen," Patole stated. He blamed inflation and unemployment on the Central and Maharashtra governments, both of which the BJP is a major partner.
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, who served as a cabinet minister in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, said the MVA 'very strongly' pursued this project when it was in power. The plant was almost certainly going to be built in Maharashtra. Our MVA administration had brought this to a close. "Such megaprojects aren't coming here because the current administration has lost the faith of potential investors," he said.
According to Aaditya Thackeray, the megaproject would have supported 160 ancillary industries and created 70,000 to 1 lakh job opportunities. He stated that the previous MVA government was in contact with the company and that a meeting with its representatives happened in January of this year.
"Officials from the company also visited the Maharashtra regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha before settling on Talegaon (in the Pune district) as a potential location for the factory," he said. Thackeray slammed the Shinde-led government, which took office on June 30, asking, "What was the government doing? What was the industry minister up to? The CMO tweeted on July 26 that the plant would be built in Maharashtra," Thackeray concluded.
Under fire from the Opposition for missing out on the mega Vedanta-Foxconn project, Maharashtra State Industries Minister Uday Samant said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday after Gujarat bagged the contract. The project was originally planned for Maharashtra, but Vedanta Foxconn settled on Gujarat and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gujarat government on Tuesday.
The CM expressed his views on Vedanta to the PM (Foxconn semiconductor project). On this subject, the CM had a thorough discussion with PM Modi. The PM has assured the youth that a similar, or better, project will be given to Maharashtra, said Samant, who attempted to calm the situation.