Aaditya claimed that Tata-Airbus officials had told the then MVA government that they will have to set up the aircraft factory wherever the Union government asks them to.
The Shiv Sena MLA also refuted Fadnavi’s claims that the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government did nothing to retain Vedanta-Foxconn’s semiconductor plant in the state which eventually shifted to Gujarat. He said several meetings had taken place between Vedanta officials and the previous government at the beginning of the year.
A fresh war of words has erupted between the ruling Eknath Shinde dispensation and the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)-led opposition over the Rs 22,000 crore project to manufacture C-295 military transport aircraft moving from Maharashtra to Vadodara in Gujarat.
Earlier in the day, Fadnavis claimed that the decision to move the Airbus project was taken when Uddhav Thackeray was the chief minister.
“I had personally invited the managers of Tata Airbus Defense project on April 24, 2021, to my residence ‘Sagar’, despite being an opposition leader in the state. I spoke to them and told them as a senior leader that I will speak to then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to keep the project in Maharashtra.
“But they told me ‘yahan ka mahol investment jaise nahi hai, Devendraji’ (the atmosphere in the state is not worth an investment),” he told reporters.
Fadnavis, who was chief minister from 2014 to 2019, said he was following up on the companies since 2016 and continued to do so until 2019.
The senior BJP leader also said that French (aviation) company Safran opened its (aircraft MRO) facility in Hyderabad in 2021, but the opposition blames the Shinde-BJP dispensation for losing that project.
Meanwhile, Aaditya Fadnavis dared to reveal the names of Tata-Airbus officials who allegedly told him, when he was Leader of the Opposition, that the environment in Maharashtra was not investment-friendly.
“When the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government communicated with Tata-Airbus Defense officials, they said that they will have to set up the facility wherever the Union government asks them. I challenge Fadnavis to reveal the names of the officials who told him that the atmosphere was not investor friendly in Maharashtra,” he told reporters.
He also hit back at Fadnavis who had said he followed up Tata-Airbus from 2016 to 2019 to set up the plant in Nagpur when he was Chief Minister (2014-2019).
“It is his failure that in three years he could not take any concrete steps to bring the Tata-Airbus Defense plant to Nagpur. If that aircraft manufacturing facility was completed in Gujarat, why did Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari write a letter to the company appealing to them to start his project in Nagpur?” Aaditya asked.
Fadnavis also said that in one of the early meetings with officials from the companies (Tata-Airbus consortium), he had offered extra facilities to ensure that the project remains in Maharashtra, but the state government that took over (in late 2019) did nothing to keep the project.
“I had even sent a message in 2021 to the then CEO of MIDC (state nodal investment promotion body) to forward it to state industries minister and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. However, no action was taken. Not a single letter was sent to retain projects here.
Aaditya listed the timeline of various meetings held with Vedanta Foxconn officials and MVA government officials. He said Foxconn officials had visited Talegaon near Pune, where the plant was supposed to be set up.
“The Foxconn chairman had visited the Talegaon site along with MVA government officials on June 24 where the proposed Rs 1.49 lakh crore semiconductor plant would come up. Vedanta-Foxconn officials have already said that the Talegaon site is ideal for such a mega project “, he said.
If as per the claims of Fadnavis, Vedanta-Foxconn had already decided to set up the plant in Gujarat, then why would they waste time with us, asked Aaditya.
He claimed that the package offered by the Maharashtra government to Vedanta-Foxconn included incentives that were Rs 10,000 crore more compared to the similar package proposed by Gujarat. The semiconductor project is one of the rarest of its kind and it seemed imminent that it will be set up in Maharashtra,” he said.