Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai on Wednesday virtually ruled out chances of Taiwanese electronic giant Foxconn going ahead with its Rs 50,000 crore investment in Maharashtra. Speaking to the media in Pune on Wednesday, the minister said the government has decided to offer the land earmarked for the company in the MIDC areas of Talegaon and Khopoli to other investors.
In 2015, the Maharashtra government and Foxconn had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the electronic giant during Fadnavis’s flagship Magnetic Maharashtra event.
The deal, announced by CM Devendra Fadnavis, involved an investment of Rs 50,000 crore and employment opportunities for 30,000 people. The project was supposed to come up in the MIDC area of Taleagon in Pune district and nearly 1,500 acres of land was earmarked for the project. “The MD of the company had flown down to sign the MoU. We were quite optimistic about it,” said Desai. Foxconn had also rented out office space in Navi Mumbai fo0r manufacturing, said the minister. However, three years since the MoU, the investment seems to have fizzled out, with the minister himself admitting that the deal may not work out.
“Initially, they said they wanted to manufacture phones here but later… they started saying this investment was in anticipation of work from their vendors and till they signed the deal, (with their vendors) they would not be in a position to invest,” said the minister. The investment, however, looks unlikely to fructify, with the minister talking about offering the land in Talegaon and Khopoli to other players.
Of the 2,400 MoUs signed during the ‘Make in India’ week, 2,100 are in various stages of realisation, said Desai. “Last year, Maharashtra had attracted around 30 per cent of total Foreign Direct Investment that the country has seen… it is because of the better infrastructure and educated manpower in the country,” he said.
On the non-utilisation of land in the various MIDC, the minister said they have managed to re-acquire 2,000 hectares of land that was unutilised. “If not utilised, the allocated land will be redistributed among other claimants,” said Desai. He said the government was looking closely at the phenomenon of investors, who have information about industrial projects, buying land from farmers in order to pocket the compensation money.
Desai said the government had accessed a list, which showed businessmen from Mumbai and Gujarat had already purchased land at the proposed Nanar project site at throwaway prices. “The secretary of the industries department has been asked to look into the legal aspect of it and come up with a solution,” he said.
The Nanar refinery project, proposed to be set up in Konkan, has been opposed by various political parties, including the Sena and the Congress.