BJP MLA from Kandivali East in Maharashtra, Atul Bhatkhalkar today asked the Maha Vikas Aghadi government if a fine of Rs 143 crore levied on Bajaj Auto was reduced to Rs 25 crores after a meeting convened by Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray. Bhatkhalkar also sought details whether the fine was collected or not.
Speaking at the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha, BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said that Bajaj Auto was fined Rs 143 crore for not commencing work on 200-acres of land that was granted to it by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in 2007. He said that the fine was imposed after the automobile company didn’t start any work on the allotted plot at Chakan till 2020.
The BJP leader asked if the fine was reduced to Rs 25 crores in a meeting convened by Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray. Although he said that 200 acres of land was allotted to Bajaj Auto, actually it was 250 acres.
According to MIDC rules, land acquired by companies in the Chakan region must be utilised within three years, else the companies will have to surrender the land. MIDC had imposed extension charges on Bajaj for keeping the land vacant for more than a decade after acquiring it.
Bajaj Auto had acquired 250 acres of land in Chakan, where it had planned to set up a plant to manufacture a car in collaboration with Renault. Both the companies had planned to manufacture an ultra-low-cost car in India. But as the partnership didn’t materialise, the plan for the car plant had to abandoned. The company had later sought permission to utilise the land for setting up a two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturing facility, but even after that, the plot remained unutilised. The company had also offered to return 20-25 acres out of the total 250 it was allotted.
Last year the company announced that it will invest Rs 650 crore for setting up a manufacturing facility on the plot. The company plans to manufacture high-end KTM, Husqvarna and Triumph motorcycles, and electric vehicles like Chetak scooters in the plant. Production is expected to start from 2013. However, it means the company delayed utilising the land for a decade, and therefore it is liable to pay the fine to MIDC for the same.