Eknath Shinde left red-faced after Maharashtra loses yet another big project

Maharashtra has lost four significant industrial projects worth Rs 1.40 lakh crore to other states since Eknath Shinde assumed office as the chief minister

Eknath Shinde (File image)
Eknath Shinde (File image)

Aditya Anand

As evidenced by the fluctuating stance of its ministers, the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government has been left red-faced after losing four significant industrial projects worth Rs 1.40 lakh crore to other states since taking office.

Maharashtra Industries Minister Uday Samant was quoted by newspapers as saying on Friday that Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was making valiant attempts to secure the project for Nagpur but had been unsuccessful after the Rs 22,000 crore Tata-Airbus C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing plant became the latest project to move to Gujarat.

A few hours later, Samant, a Balasahebanchi Shivsena MLA, claimed that the Centre had signed the agreement in September last year to establish the Tata-Airbus C-295 transport aircraft project n Gujarat. He attacked the Opposition for sowing confusion while trying to save face by blaming them.

In September, Samant had said that the C-295 transport aircraft project would come up in MIHAN, Nagpur.

The C-295 aircraft will now be produced by Airbus and Tata Advanced Systems Limited at a facility that the joint venture will build in Gujarat's Vadodara.

With the requirement that 40 of them be produced in India, the Union cabinet had approved the purchase of 56 C-295MW military transport aircraft from Airbus for the Indian Air Force in 2021. According to the announcement, the first 16 aircraft will be ordered from Spain in flyaway condition within 48 months of the contract's signing, and the remaining 40 will be produced in India by a group under the direction of Tata Advanced Systems Limited in cooperation with Airbus.

Leaving no stone unturned to get the Tata Airbus project to Maharashtra, CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis were expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The meeting did not take place, though, and before Maharashtra could act, Gujarat's BJP-led government was able to strike it rich, particularly in light of the state's impending Assembly elections.

Approximately 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state are projected to be generated by the Tata Airbus project.

Former MVA government minister Aaditya Thackeray expressed disappointment at the Shinde Fadnavis government. “Another project! I have voiced this since July, asking Khoke Sarkar to try for it. I wonder why every project is going to other states in the last 3 months. Loss of faith in khoke sarkar is evident on an industry level. Will the industry minister resign after losing 4 projects?” he tweeted.

Thackeray recalled that during their two meetings with Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran, he and former industry minister Subhash Desai had pushed for the project to be located in Maharashtra.

Mahesh Tapase, who belongs to NCP’s Maharashtra unit, called for the resignation of CM Eknath Shinde like that of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss for failing to defend Maharashtra's interests.

A customised package of incentives approved by a high-powered committee makes the Tata Airbus project eligible for up to 100 per cent of their fixed capital investment (HPC).

In Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) areas in the A and B categories, land for anchor units in industrial areas is provided at a rate of 75 per cent of the going rate, and in MIDC areas in other locations, it is provided at a rate of 50 per cent of the going rate, up to a maximum of 100 acres.

Under the Maharashtra Aerospace and Defence Policy 2018-22, the government would support R&D activities with up to 50 per cent of project costs up to a maximum of Rs 10 crore and an additional floor space index of 0.5 to such units. Any common facility centre will receive up to Rs 15 crore from the Rs 300 crore fund established by MIDC.

The Vedanta-Foxconn project, worth Rs. 1.54 lakh crore, to build a semiconductor fabrication facility in the state's Talegaon industrial area, was relocated to Gujarat's Dholera in September. According to projections, the project and other small industries dependent on it would have produced about 1 lakh jobs in the state.

Maharashtra was also one of the top contenders for the bulk drug park project, with a budget of approximately Rs 3,000 crore and the potential to generate about 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Officials said that the state government had also set aside 5,000 acres in the two tehsils of Roha and Murud in the coastal Raigad district for the project.

The Center on September 1 gave an in-principle nod to proposals from Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh under the scheme for the promotion of bulk drug parks by ignoring Maharashtra.

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