With political parties targeting him for allegedly receiving undue favours from the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani on Sunday said he got no special favours from Modi and his company has, since 1993, acquired only barren wasteland for infrastructure projects.
The $8.7 billion ports-to-energy company began acquiring land near the coastal town of Mundra in Gujarat since 1993 and only one-third of a total land bank of 15,946 acres was acquired when Modi was chief minister, he said.
“Not a single acre has been taken from any farmer… We went to Kutch when no one looked there and acquired only barren and desert-like land that was not suitable for agriculture,” Adani told PTI in an interview here.
Adani used the land to build India’s biggest port at Mundra, which handled a record 100 million tonnes of cargo in FY14, and the nation’s biggest coal power station in the private sector, he said, adding that his group did not buy land at cheap rates to sell it to make profits.
“When we began acquiring land at Mundra in 1993, (chief minister) Chimanbhai Patel charged us 10 paise per square metre. (BJP government led by) Keshubhai Patel (in 1995) charged us Re 1 per square metre and Shankersinh Vaghela in 1996-97, charged Rs 1.5 per square metre. Under Mr Modi, we got some 5,000 acres of land at an average rate of Rs 15 per square metre,” he said.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has in his political meetings used alleged largesse to industrialists like Adani to attack Modi. At a recent rally, Gandhi claimed that Modi had given Adani land for Re 1, the price of a toffee.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal too has alleged a nexus between Modi and industrialists like Adani and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Adani, 51, said he does not want to get involved in the political slugfest but facts are different than what is being portrayed. “Modi became chief minister of Gujarat in 2001 and we first got land under him in 2006 to set up a special economic zone under UPA overnment’s SEZ policy. We wanted 10,000 acres but got only 5,000 acres. Now people are comparing the price we paid 20 years back for barren, non-agricultural land with the market rate of land that has been developed with all facilities like roads and electricity,” he said.
Adani added that Modi, who is BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is helping industries through policy. “Modi government has not flouted any rule or regulation to help anyone. No special favours have been granted to Adani.”
Adani Group, he said, has worked with state governments in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Haryana for acquiring land for projects.