Seeking files from MIDC aimed at fast-tracking process: Industries Minister

Mumbai: Having run into a controversy over calling for all land allotment files from MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp), state's Industries Minister Subhash Desai today said his decision was aimed at fast- tracking the process.

Desai's letter to MIDC in this regard had raised eyebrows and was being seen as undermining the body's powers to grant clearances without the Cabinet's approval.

"All files relating to land allotment under the jurisdiction of MIDC, which are tabled at the land allotment committee meeting, should be immediately forwarded to the minister's office for approval, and the subordinate officials and staff should be directed accordingly," as per the letter dated January 20.

Desai, however, clarified that the letter should not be misconstrued as an attempt to undermine the BJP-led government's resolve to cut red-tape and was aimed at ensuring faster clearance for setting up new industries in the state.

"Industry leaders had been complaining to me that they kept asking for plots to set up industries but they were being denied. Their complaints were with senior level officers. Observing this, I asked the MIDC to directly send me the files so that they can be reviewed," Desai told PTI.

"This does not mean, there is any altercation between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. What we are trying to do is bring in transparency. I do not intend to stall projects which are not given a go ahead by me," the senior Shiv Sena leader said.

The state has always been at the forefront of IT policies and the government will introduce changes in its IT policies by the end of February, he said. "We are planning to link gaming, animation and telecom with our IT policy. This will be done by February end.
Maharashtra was considered to be the pioneer of IT technology, but today Bangalore and Gurgaon too are in the race," he said.

Even as ministers are set to submit a report card of decisions taken by their departments to the Chief Minister, Desai said that major decisions like reducing development charges taken by the MIDC, and setting up of UK India Business Council have been taken by his ministry.

"The first thing we did was to begin the process of taking back land from those who took it for industrial purpose but have not started any industry. The other thing was the MRTP (Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practice) Act, under which the MIDC takes development charges from Industries. We have reduced the charges by 50 per cent," Desai said.

"Industry owners in Kolhapur were complaining that they wanted plots, but were not getting it. Hence they wanted to shift to Karnataka. We managed to persuade them to not do it. We have already got back 9 vacant plots and will soon get 91 more plots," Desai added.

He said the UK India Business Council has been set up in Kurla that will help UK Industries set up a base here. Desai said an MoU has been signed with Baden-Wurttemberg state of Germany where both the states will jointly develop sectors like winery, IT and skills development.

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