MUMBAI: A delegation of multinational companies (MNCs) have put the Maharashtra government on notice and expressed their displeasure to the state government after the Maratha agitation in Aurangabad targeted these companies and raised questions about the state being a ‘stable investment destination’.
Last Monday, a few company representatives and a CII delegation met Maharashtra industries minister Subhash Desai and government officials and made known that such kind of violence within their factory premises was unacceptable.
“We have told them that the managements abroad were asking questions about the violence, they wanted us to convey to the state that their interests are not being protected,” said one of the company officials who was part of the delegation.
The delegation told the government that the top managements were worried about the safety of their employees and equipment. Canpac and Endress Hauser were among the companies in the delegation.
“Foreign as well as domestic companies have raised concerns on the violence to the government, such incidents hurt the investment climate in the state,” said Rishi Bagla, former CII Maharashtra council chairman and a member of the delegation that met Desai.
Government officials privately admitted that the sense they got from the meeting was that the scale of violence and the lack of police action to prevent the rioters had shaken up the companies, who would now be wary to invest further here.
“The companies will not shift immediately their operations from the state after the attack, but yes, there will be a rethink from companies on further expanding their units. This incident has damaged the state’s credibility. Violence like these creates an unhealthy investment climate,” said one official.
Another official added that the incident has undone years of hard work by the state to attract investments. “Whenever our chief minister went abroad, our pitch for getting investments was a skilled workforce and a peaceful state. We can’t blame the companies for being worried with what has happened now.”
In a damage control mode and to assuage the grievances of the companies, the state has conceded a number of demands like putting more CCTV cameras on roads and other public spaces and one more police station would be sanctioned for Walunj in Aurangabad.
The government has also decided to do away with a Development Control Rule that prohibited companies from building a wall higher than two metres.
“Due to the restriction, most of the rioters simply jumped over the wall and entered the company and vandalised property. The DC rule was meant so that workers could safety exit the company in case there is an accident. We are now going to allow companies to build a higher wall,” said a state government official.
Maharashtra has also decided to book the perpetrators of violence under various sections related to attempt to murder, dacoity and other serious crimes.