Amid uproar over the loss of a $20 billion semiconductor project by Vedanta-Foxconn to Gujarat, The Maharashtra Industry Minister Uday Samant on Wednesday confirmed that the after the formation of the Shinde Fadnavis government the high power committee meeting on July 15 had cleared the capital subsidy of Rs 39,000 crore to be provided to the joint venture company. He also confirmed FPJ’s story in this regard but expressed surprise over Vedanta Group chief Anil Agarwal’s unilateral announcement on Twitter about its move to develop the project in Gujarat despite the subsidy package of Rs 28,000 crore offered by the BJP-led government being less compared to Maharashtra government’s Rs 39,000 crore package.
‘’It is a reality that the semiconductor project will come up in Gujarat. However, It is now the company and the Vedanta Group chief Anil Agarwal who will be in a position to tell why they chose Gujarat,’’ he noted.
Samant said that the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday night spoke to the prime Minister Narendra Modi who has assured to give another project of almost equivalent size and investment in Maharashtra. ‘’A delegation comprising the CM, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and myself will meet the PM seeking the Centre’s help in Maharashtra getting big investments,’’ he added.
Samant claimed that the previous MVA government from January till July 15 though discussed the subsidy package with the Vedanta-Foxconn, but the high power committee had not cleared it. ‘’The High Power Committee (HPC) meeting took place on July 15 and gave its go-ahead for the subsidy package of Rs 39,000 crore to be provided to Vedanta Foxconn for the semiconductor project,’’ he said. HPC’s clearance is a must for providing such a package to the investors.
The project was proposed to come up in Maharashtra but Vedanta Foxconn’s MoU with Gujarat government triggered 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 Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government came to power on June 30 this year, they reviewed the project and expedited the process.
"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 the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor 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.
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. Aaditya in response to Samant’s charges said, ‘’Some messages are circulated to create confusion between two separate projects. Foxconn for Phone assembly, signed under earlier Fadnavis led government. State waited till 2020 but they didn’t come back. Vedanta- Foxconn was initiated in 2022, only after Centre’s push for semiconductors in December 2021,’’
Meanwhile, Samant without naming Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Aaditya said that the opponents of the proposed Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery project at Barsu in Ratnagiri district should make their stand clear. He hoped that the mega refinery project will help boost the state’s industrial development and economic growth.
Meanwhile, Yuva Sena will launch a state-wide protest across Maharashtra on September 15 for the loss of jobs to 1 lakh youths in the state due to the loss of Vedanta Foxconn project to Gujarat.