The state-run City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and Videocon are currently engaged in verbal duel over the land allotment made by the Maharashtra government for the Rs 10,000 crore liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) project in Navi Mumbai.
CIDCO has communicated to the state government to withdraw its decision taken in August 2008 to allot 100 hectares for just Rs 300 crore to Videocon. It has cited lack of any progress made by the company despite given more than three extensions during last four years for the payment of land price.
Cidco chairman Pramod Hindurao told Business Standard "The company has not made necessary payment to Cidco towards land. The land approved by the state cabinet in August 2008 to Videcon remains practically with Cidco. The project remains a non starter and therefore we have appealed to the government to revoke its earlier decision so that the said land can be used for other projects in Navi Mumbai." Hindurao said Cidco awaits government's decision in this regard.
However, VN Dhoot, chairman, Videocon Industries informed that the company had submitted a cheque of Rs 225 crore towards land price but Cidco returned it. "When there is no land in our possession how can we proceed ahead? It was quite an important project for the state as well as for the country too as it would have helped save foreign exchange of Rs 50,000 crore." Further, he said the Government of India was to provide subsidy for the project.
Interestingly, there are few buyers in Cidco and the state government for Videocon's argument. Former deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party group leader in the state assembly Ajit Pawar came out in open to uphold Cidco's stand and clearly indicated that his party in the cabinet would approve withdrawal of land earmarked for Videocon. Under the circumstances, CIDCO was well within its rights to cancel the process, Pawar added.
Cidco official said its board in November 2007 had approved the in-principle allotment of land to Videocon for setting up the project. The land to be allotted admeasures 100 hectares in three packets at three places admeasuring an area of 60 hectares in Dronagiri, 18 hectare in Karanjade and another 22 hectare in Kamothe.
However, the project came into the spotlight since the state cabinet gave its approval in August 2008 when former revenue minister Narayan Rane had opposed it. Rane had said how the government can allot the land at Rs 300 crore when the market price during that time was well over Rs 3,500 crore. Rane, who is currently industries minister, had then threatened to resign from the ministry had the decision was not reversed.
Further, Cidco Employee's Union had alleged a multi crore scam in the allotment of land to Videocon.