HomePoliticsMaharashtra govt was in talks with Vedanta since Jan for its plant;...

Maharashtra govt was in talks with Vedanta since Jan for its plant; CM Shinde invited company twice to sign MoU


Amid a row over a Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project moving out to Gujarat from Maharashtra, officials said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had invited the joint venture company to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government on July 29 to set up the facility near Pune.

A senior government official said Vedanta had begun talks with the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government from January this year over the proposed plant. In May, the company had shortlisted Maharashtra, while in June, a tentative incentive and infrastructure package was prepared by the government.

Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were in regular touch with Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal and had spoken to him over phone, he said.

Shinde had written to him (Agarwal) assuring that the state cabinet’s approval and the central government’s nod for 20 per cent capital subsidy for the semiconductor facility would be taken, the official said.

The Vedanta team held a meeting with Shinde, Fadnavis and top officials on July 26, he said.

“Shinde wrote to Agarwal on July 26, inviting him for an MoU-signing ceremony on July 29 in Mumbai,” the official added.

“Your request for central government alignment and cabinet approval are in advanced stages and moving ahead expeditiously. A high-powered committee has already given its in-principle approval for requisite incentive package and the same will be moved to the cabinet for approval,” chief minister Shinde said in a letter to Agarwal.

“In addition we are also seeking alignment at the highest level of government of India to request for unfettered support in ensuring the project receives due support,” the letter added.

According to the official, the state government offered subsidies in land, water power supply, stamp duty exemption, among other facilities.

The official said that on April 25 this year, Vedanta had verbally confirmed that the Talegaon site (near Pune) had superior connectivity and investment ecosystem as well as history of disbursement of incentives and policy structure.

“As discussed during the deliberations Gujarat had no relevant policy in place and the site pitched – Dholera – was considered inferior to Talegaon,” he said.

On May 3, Vedanta’s technical partner Foxconn visited Talegaon and deemed that it was most technically feasible.

“Before the Eknath Shinde led government came to power, talks had begun with the previous regime since January this year. Vedanta shortlisted Maharashtra on May 14, while on June 13, a tentative incentive and infrastructure package was prepared by the state government,” the official said.

After the Shinde government took over (on June 30), CM Shinde and Fadnavis wrote to Vedanta and Foxconn to invest in the state and confirm next steps and finalisation ceremony, he said.

On July 26, Shinde and Fadnavis held a meeting with Akarsh Hebbar, who led Vedanta-Foxconn leadership team, and submitted official document of support and requested Vedanta to confirm attendance at the MoU ceremony.

Foxconn had a follow up visit at Talegaon on July 27 and 28. On August 5, Fadnavis met Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal in Mumbai and on August 15, a high-powered committee granted Vedanta incentives like capital subsidy, stamp duty exemption to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore. MIDC offered another Rs 3,300 crore.

On September 5, invitation to attend the MoU ceremony was extended for the second time, the official said.

On Tuesday, Vedanta-Foxconn jointly inked a MoU with the Gujarat government in Gandhinagar to set up the semiconductor and display manufacturing unit in Gujarat.

Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal on Thursday tweeted that the semiconductor plant will be set up in Gujarat.

In a series of tweets, he said Vedanta-Foxconn has been professionally assessing site for a multi-billion dollar investment.

“This is a scientific and financial process which takes several years. We started this about 2 years ago. Our team of internal and external professional agencies shortlisted few states – Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu to help achieve our purpose. For last 2 years we have been engaging with each of these governments as well as central government and have received fantastic support,” he said.

“We decided Gujarat few months ago as they met our expectations. But in July meeting with Maharashtra leadership, they made a huge effort to outbid other states with competitive offer. We have to start in one place and based on professional and independent advice we chose Gujarat,” he said.

This multibillion dollar long-term investment will change the course of Indian electronics. We will create a pan-India ecosystem & are fully committed to investing in Maharashtra as well. Maharashtra will be our key to forward integration in our Gujarat JV, Agarwal said in the tweet.

A political firestorm has erupted in Maharashtra after Vedanta-Foxconn opted for Gujarat for its Rs 1.54 lakh crore semiconductor plant. Vedanta, an Indian oil-to-metals conglomerate, and Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn have formed a joint venture to set up the plant in Gujarat.

Members of the ruling dispensation and the opposition in Maharashtra have been attacking each other over the issue.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have sought to corner the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government following the announcement two days ago that the plant would be set up in Gujarat and not in Maharashtra, while the ruling side accused the opposition of making false claims over the project.

Shinde took oath as the state chief minister on June 30, a day after the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government collapsed following his rebellion against the Shiv Sena leadership.


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