India's Maharashtra government has confirmed today that two industrial estates for defence manufacturing will be set up in the state.
One industrial estate will be set up at Jejuri in Pune district and another in Ahmednagar district, The Times of India reported today.
The state government has drafted its first every Defence and Aerospace policy for promoting private investments to set up defence manufacturing units in Maharashtra.
"The demand is for isolated areas with a hilly terrain for testing defence equipment. Hence, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has identified these two districts for the purpose," Maharashtra's industry minister Subhash Desai said.
He added that Maharashtra's draft policy will be reviewed by the defence ministry as it must be in sync with the Centre's policy.
Citing problems in setting up defence units, Desai offered the example of a prominent engineering firm that had expressed interest in setting up a defence manufacturing unit in Maharashtra and had approached the defence ministry for the same.
The firm was informed that one of the conditions to set up a defence manufacturing unit was that they must own land. The company then approached Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) who sold them the land.
"When they went back to the defence ministry they were told that the defence company must be an independent entity and the land must be in the name of the new entity.” Desai said. Now, the issue is of who will pay the transfer fee. "It is to avoid such problems that we want our policy to be in line with that of the ministry," he said.
Companies such as L&T, Bharat Forge, Reliance are keen to set up their units here, he added. "Reliance has already bought land in MIHAN (the cargo hub), Nagpur, as it is close to the airport and they will set up their unit there," he said.