Even as the state’s newly announced industrial policy introduced an ‘ultra-mega’ industrial units category to woo large-scale investors, it turns out that just over 110 of 354 (or one in three) mega projects that flocked to the state since 2005 have begun production so far.
Last week, the state government’s industrial policy injected ‘ultra- mega’ industrial units slot. Billed as the crème-de-la-crème among industries, the ultra mega is a benchmark above the former ‘mega projects’ category.
These ‘top slot’ units will invest over Rs1,500 crore as fixed capital and provide direct employment to at least 3,000 people. The ‘mega’ industrial units will include those with capital between Rs100 crore and Rs750 crore with employment-generation capacity to 250 to 1,500.
However, an industries department official said that of the 354 mega projects sanctioned by the state since 2005 when the much-hyped scheme was announced, production units of over 110 have cranked up.
“The rest are in different stages like purchasing or acquiring land and in construction of their production facilities,” said the official, adding that these ‘mega’ units have a cap of seven years, to begin production, or else concessions doled out to them will be recovered.
“Companies intending to go outside Maharashtra have instead set up shop here,” said the official. “But a key problem to industrial expansion in the state is non-availability of land, resistance to acquisition of fresh land besides lack of proper roads and infrastructure.”
The official added that infrastructure was a problem in backward regions, like Gadchiroli unlike around the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik-Thane region.
A senior state government official, however, rubbished this charge, claiming that availability of land was not a constraint. “All those [mega projects] which applied for land have got it,” claimed the government official, citing the state’s “plus points” to factors like development of and access to ports, qualified manpower, power supply, a good law and order situation and political stability.
“As of now, around 25 mega projects were awaiting final sanction...” the official said, adding that setting-up units in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation areas helped ironed out minor hurdles, besides reducing formalities.