Gujarat government on Tuesday told the Legislative Assembly that the state has emerged a leader in power and energy sectors under BJP rule, drawing sharp reaction from opposition Congress which claimed the industrial growth is sans employment generation.
"As a result of state government policies and efforts of past 12 years, Gujarat has become number one state in the country in Energy and Industry and will remain number one," said Minister of State for Industry Saurabh Patel amid intense debate over budgetary demands for the energy, petrochemicals and industry departments for year 2013-14.
Proposing to pass total budgetary demands of Rs 7,427 crore, including capital and revenue expenses for energy and petrochemicals, industry, mines and mineral departments for year 2013-14, in House, Patel claimed that Gujarat will retain its 'numero uno' tag in industry and energy sectors of the country.
In support of his claims, Patel cited some figures related to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal capacities saying the "central government is dependent on Dabhol terminal where LNG capacity is 1.5 Million Metric Tonne(MMT) whereas in Gujarat, we have total of 14.6 MMT capacity, including 11 MMT at Dahej terminal and 3.6 MMT at Hajira terminal".
He said the government has set the target of adding 11.5 MMT LNG import capacity in next five years.
"Similarly, Gujarat is leading in power generation, which our government is aiming to increase to 25,979 MW by year 2015 from the present 17,169 MW," Patel said.
He attributed the growth to "stability and favourable policies" of the state government. "Gujarat has become a favourite destination for industries....This is the reason Gujarat is called as the growth engine of the country," he added.
Patel said that many states in the country have imitated the manufacturing, textile and cotton policies of Gujarat.
However, Congress members rejected the claims, saying the policies of BJP government in past 12 years have in fact resulted into a "jobless" industrial growth.
"If you look at the data of power usage, one can realise how shallow and false are those claims of widespread industrial development in the state. Gujarat has been witnessing a job less industrial growth," said Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani during the discussion.
"In comparison with the data of power usage for commercial purpose in the state in 2011, there is a reduction of 1,842 million units. This shows that many small and medium industrial units are shutting down rendering scores of youth unemployed," he said, adding Gujarat has in fact slumped to sixth position in industrial development due to policies of BJP government.
Congress Chief Whip in the Assembly and MLA from Sidhhpur, Balwantsinh Rajput, alleged that the government was providing power to the industry at the cost of farmers.
"This government has been favouring a few select industrial houses and giving power to them liberally while farmers in the state, facing water scarcity, are totally neglected by the government," he said.
At the end of the discussion, Assembly passed the budgetary demands for Energy and Petrochemicals, Industry and Mines and Mineral departments with a voice vote.