Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In-principle approval for SEZs may be put on hold


NEW DELHI: The government may put a temporary halt on in-principle
approvals for special economic zones (SEZs) where land has not been
acquired till a new rehabilitation package is finalised.

As of now, 166 proposals have received in-principle approval but are
hanging in balance due to unclear land acquisition norms. The board of
approval for SEZs will meet on January 19 to take up proposals for
projects where land has already been acquired by developers.

A new rehabilitation policy is being finalised by the rural development
ministry, which will replace the national policy for resettlement &
rehabilitation, 2003. The new policy will be mandatory.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi met commerce and industry minister Kamal
Nath earlier this week to voice her concerns on displacement of farmers
and small businesses due to the land acquisition process. Ms Gandhi’s
intervention is important in the wake of violent protests in Nandigram,
West Bengal, where a chemical SEZ is being built by the Indonesia Salem

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already promised that a new
rehabilitation policy will be in place in the next three months.
According to the draft rehab proposal prepared by the rural development
ministry, a developer planning to undertake a new project or expansion
of an existing project which involves physical displacement of 400 or
more families in plain areas or 200 or more families in tribal or hilly
areas, will have to prepare a social impact assessment (SIA) report and
submit it to the agency prescribed.

The proposal further states compensation award should be declared, full
compensation amount paid and adequate resettlement carried out before
ouster of the affected families. It also lays down details about the
compensation package to be given to various categories of oustees.

Apart from the 166 in-principle approvals given by the government till
date, a total of 51 SEZs have been notified while formal clearance has
been given to 237 proposals.



Post a Comment

<< Home