Maharashtra freezes 3 Chinese projects worth ₹5,000 cr

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has put the three agreements signed with Chinese companies at the recent Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 investor meet on hold. The proposed investments total over Rs.5,000 crore.

“The decision has been taken in consultation with the Union government. These were signed prior (to the killing of 20 Indian soldiers on the Indo-China border). The ministry of external affairs has advised not to sign any further agreements with Chinese companies,” said industry minister Subhash Desai.

The online conference held last Monday was attended by Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong. The three agreements included a Rs.3,770-crore MoU with Great Wall Motors to set up an automobile plant in Talegaon near Pune.

Also, PMI Electro Mobility in a joint venture with Foton (China) had announced a Rs.1,000-crore unit that would create 1,500 jobs, said a government press release.

Among the Chinese companies that made commitments was Hengli Engineering, for a Rs.250-crore investment as part of its phase II expansion at Talegaon, which will bring 150 jobs.

Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 was an attempt by the government to kick-start the economy after the Covid lockdown. In all, 12 agreements were signed, which included companies from Singapore, South Korea, the US, besides several Indian companies. Desai said the state government is actively processing the other nine MoUs.

In January, Great Wall Motors signed an agreement to acquire the Talegaon plant from the US-based General Motors. GWM planned to produce its electric vehicles and SUV models at the unit.

“This would be a highly automated plant in Talegaon (near Pune) with advanced robotics technology integrated in many of the production processes,” Parker Shi, MD of the Indian subsidiary of GWM, was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Overall we are committed to USD 1 billion (Rs.7,600 crore) of investment in India in a phased manner, which is directed towards manufacturing world class intelligent and premium products, R&D centre, building supply chain and providing jobs to over 3,000 people in a phased manner,” he added.

The decision to stall the Chinese projects comes in the wake of the border clashes.

At the all-party meet called by PM Narendra Modi on Friday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “India wants peace but that doesn’t mean we are weak. China’s nature is betrayal. India is mazboot,not majboor (India is strong, not helpless).”

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