NEW DELHI: Less than a year ahead of the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, the Narendra Modi government is looking at relocating two projects announced by its predecessor to be set up in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies represented by Congress VP Rahul Gandhi and President Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Anant Geete on Tuesday told #AIRA that the two projects are likely to be shifted to more viable locations. “In the previous government, the decision-making was done taking into account what political mileage will be gained from setting up a public sector unit (PSU) in a particular location,”
Geete said. “Most of the public sector units set up on these parameters are now sick and defunct,” he said. The Congress led United Progressive Alliance government had in 2014 approved a Rs 3,650- crore project to set up the Jagdishpur Paper Mill in Amethi through a cabinet proposal which was put on fast track. The unit approved in Rae Bareli was part of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP). Geete said that his ministry has sent a proposal to the finance ministry for shifting the paper mill. “Rae Bareli project is also not suitable. We have not taken a final decision, but then there is no land,” he said.
As per the latest government data, about 80 state-run entities made a combined loss of Rs 27,300 crore at the end of 2014-15. The government is seeking to address this issue through measures including letting profitable state run enterprises absorb weaker ones and generating resources for fresh investments. “We do not want to set up any PSU for political mileage,” Geete said. Any new unit will be set up only if there is proper infrastructure, connectivity and raw material availability, he said.
“Take the case of the Rae Bareli unit. There is no auto industry even within a radius of 500 km. If that unit is set up to provide support to auto sector it should be close to the auto hubs,” he said.
In the case of the proposed Jagdishpur Paper Mill, the minister said there is no land available. Besides, there is a land dispute which is being heard by the Supreme Court, he said.