Fed up of what they call government's "indifferent attitude", the Rs.60,000 crore per annum metal trading industry headquartered in Mumbai has decided to desert Maharashtra for Gujarat, a top official said here on Friday.
Metal and Stainless Steel Merchants Association (MSSMA) secretary Jitendra Shah said that since past few months, the MSSMA has been in communication with the Gujarat and Rajasthan governments.
"The Adani Group has come up with a very attractive proposal to give us full developed infrastructure and land for offices and residences on around 75 acres near Gandhinagar (in Gujarat), besides more for our warehouses," Shah told IANS.
Apparently rattled by the prospects of an important chunk of Mumbai's business market moving out of the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has summoned MSSMA for a meeting early next week to thrash out the issues.
Earlier, the government had accused the MSSMA of arm-twisting tactics as their members had defaulted on over Rs.10,000 crore by way of various taxes.
Shah challenged the allegations claiming that a RTI query has revealed an outstanding of around Rs.2,000 crore, of which 50 percent has been recovered and the rest is under dispute. "Where did they get the figure of Rs.10,000 crore?" he demanded to know.
The MSSMA and the state government have locked horns with each other over the past few years with the former demanding better working conditions and proper infrastructure as it has become difficult to operate from cramped areas of south Mumbai, which lacks even clean public toilets.
"We have asked them to provide us around 100 acres of land anywhere around Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, or Navi Mumbai with full infrastructure to enable us to relocate. More than 90 percent of India's metal and stainless steel is routed through our 2,200 registered members and the rest through unregistered operators," he said.
In last Saturday's AGM, the members vociferously demanded that the Adani Group's offer should be accepted and preparations to shift out of Mumbai - where it is centred in Khetwadi locality of south Mumbai - must begin forthwith.
Among other things, the Adani Group has offered shops, flats, warehouses of various sizes and budgets with full infrastructure and amenities comparable to a township to lure the country's biggest and only metal and stainless steel markets there.
"Depending on the outcome of our meeting with the chief minister next week, we shall take the final call to ask our members submit their individual requirements which we shall provide to Adani Group and initiate the shifting process within a year or so," Shah said.