Rane threatens to resign over land to Videocon (Lead, Correcting figures)

August 5th, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Mumbai, Aug 5 (IANS) A major business proposal cleared by the Maharashtra government has created a logjam between two political rivals - Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his bete noire Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, who has threatened to quit. Rane Tuesday launched another attack on Deshmukh over the allotment of a 100-hectare plot of land in Navi Mumbai to the electronics giant, Videocon Group, at a cost of Rs.3 billion.

Videocon, in partnership with the state agency City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), plans to set up the country’s first LCD and TFT display panel manufacturing unit at a cost of Rs.80 billion, spread across three villages - Valgaon, Karanjade and Kamothe Node - in Navi Mumbai.

The land, belonging to CIDCO, is actually worth Rs.30 billion, Rane told newspersons.

He said he plans to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and offer to resign on grounds that the state government was serving the interests of “only one person”.

In a statement, the government said the CIDCO would hold a 26 percent share in the company in lieu of its land worth Rs.300 million.

The project would also get investments from the central government’s IT mission, part of the money would be raised through public equity participation and institutional loans. The project would help generate over 10,000 jobs, the state government said.

However, Rane contended the land was being given at a price far below the existing market price in that area. He said: “This government was not working for the common masses but only for one person.”

The Videocon group heads, the Dhoot family, hail from Marathwada, the home region of Deshmukh.

While Venugopal Dhoot, the Videocon chairman, is an influential businessman, his brother Rajkumar Dhoot is a Rajya Sabha member, whom Shiv Sena had supported.

Though there was opposition to the proposal from some cabinet ministers, but finally Deshmukh prevailed and the project was cleared.

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