Gujarat Getting India's 1st Semiconductor Plant Is The New Sore Point In Maharashtra Politics

Semiconductor Plant Row: The development led to the political blame game in state as opposition leaders accused Shinde-led government for losing big opportunity.

By Radha Basnet
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 11:45 AM IST
Minute Read
Gujarat Getting India's 1st Semiconductor Plant Is The New Sore Point In Maharashtra Politics
(Image Credits: Reuters, ANI)

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited and Taiwan's Foxconn signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Gujarat government for setting up a semiconductor and display FAB manufacturing unit in the state with an investment of over Rs 1.54 lakh crore on Tuesday.

In accordance with the MoU, the Vedanta-Foxconn company will invest Rs 94,500 crore in Gujarat to set up a Display Fab Unit, and Rs 60,000 crore to build an integrated Semiconductor Fab Unit and OSAT facility there.

The two MoUs, together, will bring an investment of more than Rs 1.54 lakh crore and generate around 1 lakh new employment opportunities in the state.

Political Blame-Game Begins In Maharashtra:

The development has given rise to a political blame game in Maharashtra as the companies were in talks with the state government to set up the semiconductor manufacturing unit there.

Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) members Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress have severely criticised the Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government over the project, which was earlier proposed in Maharashtra, going to Gujarat.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar alleged that the semiconductor project was shifted out of Maharashtra due to "political pressure at the highest levels."

"This will be a blow to the state's economy," Pawar wrote in a letter to Chief Minister Shinde, adding that the CM should ensure that this huge investment did not go out of the state.

NCP MP Supriya Sule also attacked the Shinde-led government and alleged that Gujarat bagging a mega Vedanta-Foxconn semi-conductor plant was part of a "conspiracy" to reduce Maharashtra's importance.

“It is part of a larger conspiracy to bring down the importance of Maharashtra, the only state in the country poised to become a trillion dollar economy,” Sule said.

“I am making these allegations consciously...the Union government is consistently taking steps to demean Maharashtra. There will be a long-term setback for Maharashtra as we continue to lose more and more mega investment projects,” she added.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said besides the Vedanta-Foxconn project, Maharashtra has lost a proposed bulk drug park project pursued with the Centre by the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Taking to Twitter Thackeray wrote, “After Vedanta- Foxconn loss, the Bulk Drug Park that had been meritoriously pursued by the MVA Government, has been lost to 3 States- Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh & Himachal Pradesh, by the current unconstitutional dispensation in our State, due to its lack of interest in development.”

Why Vendanta-Foxconn picked Gujarat over Maharashtra?

Vedanta Resources Ltd Chairman Anil Agarwal, explaining about the company’s decision, said that they chose Gujarat on the basis of professional and independent advice. However, he said that the company is still committed to investing in Maharashtra.

“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 & based on professional & independent advice we chose Gujara,” Agarwal said in a tweet.

“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,” he said in subsequent tweet.

PM assured bigger and better for Maharashtra:

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the state will get a similar project or even a better one. Maharashtra Industries minister Uday Samant said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to the prime minister on Tuesday after Gujarat bagged the project.

"The chief minister put forth his views before the prime minister on Vednata (Foxconn semi-conductor 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.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde claimed the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government didn't cooperate on the Vedanta-Foxconn project. He further said that Vedanta group has said it will set up an iPhone and TV manufacturing facility in Maharashtra.

"My government came to power only one and a half months ago. I didn't want to get into a blame game over the development. But I think the Opposition should introspect," he said, adding the previous MVA government didn't cooperate and the company didn't know the government will change.

"The Vedanta group has said that it will set up an iPhone and TV manufacturing facility in Maharashtra. Even PM Modi has assured a bigger project in the state as it has good potential," he added.

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