Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis responded to criticism that Gujarat bagged the mega Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project by saying that the neighbouring state was ‘no Pakistan’ and further accused the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration of graft.
The BJP leader claimed that the ‘ten per cent commission’ had to be paid for availing of any subsidy when the former Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government and Gujarat surged ahead during this period.
Fadnavis, without naming Shiv Sena, took a dig at the party for opposing big-ticket projects like a refinery in Ratnagiri and Vadhavan port in Palghar, and for stalling the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train and Mumbai Metro phase 3.
After swearing-in as Deputy CM, he met Vedanta Resources chairman, Anil Agarwal, and the newly-formed government, striking hard to get the project, had offered a tailor-made package to the firm. However, he was told that a decision to move the project to the neighbouring state was in its final stages, Fadnavis said.
He said, “The decision was taken even before we came to power. When we came to power, we tried every bit. The ones who did nothing are pointing fingers at us.”
Maharashtra fell behind Gujarat in attracting foreign investment when MVA government was in power, however in the next two years, the present government would take Maharashtra ahead, the Deputy CM added.
“Gujarat is no Pakistan. It is our brother. This is a healthy competition. We want to get ahead of Karnataka, everyone,” he stated, further adding that the opposition’s policy was to ‘stop everything’ and with such policy the state could not beat Gujarat.
Foreign investment in Maharashtra in the year 2013 was USD 6 billion that rose to USD 26 billion when Fadnavis was the CM during 2019 to 2019, he claimed.
“Unfortunately, in the last two years our position slipped and Gujarat topped the list and it went from USD 3 billion to USD 23 billion and investment in Maharashtra came down from USD 26 billion to USD 18 billion,” the 52-year-old said.
One cannot beat the neighbouring state by ‘simply making statements’, however policies are needed, he continued, further alleging that commission had to be paid during the MVA tenure for every subsidy.
“In the last two years, for every subsidy announced, a 10 per cent commission had to be paid… From 2014-19, not a single paisa had to be given. If you have to pay bribe for getting subsidy then imagine the situation,” he said, without naming the former government.
Devendra Fadnavis stated Jamnagar refinery and Mundra port are key pillars of Gujarat’s economy and the proposed refinery in Ratnagiri was supposed to be three times as huge as the Jamnagar one. However, due to loss of time (on account of opposition to the project) the investment will be scaled down and the state lost an opportunity.