After Vedanta-Foxconn picked Gujarat for their new semiconductor plant, a political storm erupted in Maharashtra for being unable to bag the deal. Amid this, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal told CNBC-TV18 that an independent agency selected Gujarat as a conducive location for the new plant.
"The Gujarat site was selected by an independent agency and Foxconn. We also had two other consultants as experts, and they have been working for the last one-and-half month to go around all the places because they had a specific requirement of land, port, skilled people, the university to be around, etc. So, they recommended Gujarat,” Agarwal said.
Vedanta and Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant, signed an MoU with Gujarat to set up a semiconductor and manufacturing unit for which the firms would invest over Rs 1.54 lakh crore and create 100,000 job opportunities.
Agarwal told CNBC-TV18 the funding for the chip plant in Gujarat would come from Vedanta, the listed entity.
The Vedanta chairman said the Gujarat project was important for India as only three countries — Korea, China and Taiwan — have semiconductor plants. He said once chips and glass are available in India, the cost of a laptop can fall from Rs 1 lakh to around Rs 40,000 per unit or less.
“We will not be manufacturing laptops, mobile phones, etc., but we are going to create a cluster to encourage manufacturers," Agarwal said.
He said it was too early to give finer details of the venture, but all approvals were in place. “The first product should be out in the market in two years. The glass project, which will be 100 percent owned by Vedanta, and the semiconductor will be a joint venture with Foxconn,” he said.
He said the responsibility to bring in the semiconductor products would be with Foxconn, and Vedanta will be supporting and helping them provide the land, building equity/debt, government approvals, etc.
The Vedanta chairman said the company could also potentially look at entering the electric vehicle space.
Maharashtra in focus
After the Vedanta-Foxconn MoU with Gujarat, the Opposition in Maharashtra slammed the Eknath Shinde government over the 'missed' opportunity. On Wednesday, Ambadas Danve, the Opposition leader in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said Gujarat did not have the infrastructure for the manufacturing project, which is why it was not even in competition.
"Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana were competing for the project. The manufacturing plant needs a high-end technology environment, so these three states were competing for it," the Shiv Sena leader said.
The Maharashtra government, however, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the state would get a similar or even better project. State Industries Minister Uday Samant said Shinde had spoken to Modi on Tuesday after Gujarat bagged the project.
"The PM has assured the youth that a similar project, or a better one, will be given to Maharashtra," Samant said, according to a PTI report.
Here is the chairman's take on Hindustan Zinc: