Friday, January 12, 2007

Fresh SEZs after rehab policy

Arun SharmaPosted online: Friday, January 12, 2007 at 0000 hrs Print
EmailJan 19 meeting to discuss 52 proposals; Tata’s Gopalpur, DLF &
Unitech SEZs may be delayed
New Delhi, January 11: The government has decided not to approve any
fresh special economic zone (SEZ) proposals and also hold back
clearances for SEZs facing problems over land acquisition until a
rehabilitation policy is in place.

According to government sources, the Prime Minister as well as Congress
president Sonia Gandhi were keen that a rehabilitation policy for
landowners be formulated first. The PM had on Monday said the policy
would be ready in three months. The Board of Approval (BoA) for SEZs
postponed its scheduled meeting on January 10 at the last minute at the
duo’s insistence, they added.

This decision is likely to impact big-ticket SEZ proposals, including
that of the Tata group, which plans a 10-million tonne steel plant over
1,173 hectares in Gopalpur, Orissa and of Gremach Infrastructure,
planning a port-based, multi-product SEZ over 1,012 hectares at Digha in
West Bengal.

The sources said the taking up of SEZ proposals of companies that are
either seeking extension of area or where issues relating to a
rehabilitation package are to be addressed, would definitely be deferred
by the BoA in its meeting on January 19.

There are four proposals seeking extension of area, including that of
Unitech in Maharashtra, Sriram Properties & Infrastructure in Tamil Nadu
and GEPL Mundhra in Gujarat.

Of the 52 proposals to be taken up on January 19, ten are from West
Bengal alone, including the 1,012-hectare pharma, biotech and chemical
SEZ at Midnapur by Ramky Infrastructure, and two from DLF. These would
also face tough screening given the turmoil witnessed by the state in
Nandigram, where Indonesia’s Salim group was planning a mega chemical SEZ.

When contacted, commerce ministry officials said formal approvals would
be given only to proposals where land had already been acquired. If a
developer had problems regarding land acquisition following an
in-principle approval by the BOA, the developer would have to sort it
out with the state authorities before returning to the BoA for a formal

So far, the government has notified 50 SEZs, given formal approvals to
237 proposals and in-principle clearance to another 164.

4 projects take shape

Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has signed four
agreements with the India Infrastructure Initiative — jointly promoted
by IDFC and Feedback Ventures — for undertaking project preparation and
partner selection for four PPP projects in Maharashtra:

• Textile SEZ at Kagal in Kolhapur (104 hectares; investment expected Rs
230 crore)

• Power SEZ at Usar in Raigad with a capacity of 250 mw (103 hectares
area; expected investment Rs 1, 000 crore)

• Power SEZ at Bhadrawati in Chandrapur with a capacity of 1,000 mw
(1,100 hectares area; expected investment Rs 4,000 crore.)

• New airport at Sindhudurg (306 hectares area, 25 kms from Kudal;
expected investment: Rs. 507 crore)


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