Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BoArd not to be SEiZed of basics


NEW DELHI: In a move that would expedite setting up and operationalisation of special economic zones (SEZ), the government has decided to allow developers to carry out a number of operations including building of roads and boundary walls as soon as the zones are notified without seeking the permission of the board of approvals (BoA) on SEZs.

Other operations such as setting up the manufacturing area, schools, shopping complexes and hospitals would, however, continue to require authorisation certification from the BoA.

Speaking to ET, commerce ministry sources said the BoA members, in their meeting on Friday, decided to identify a number of essential operations that could be allowed without government scrutiny. The operations identified for automatic clearance include setting up of roads, boundary walls and water and power distribution systems.

“It was recognised by all members that there were a number of default activities that had to be automatically allowed and should not require special permission. The activities will be mentioned in the minutes of the meeting that will be published soon,” an official said.

Other activities such as construction of the production area and building of shopping complexes, schools and hospitals would continue to require the BoA’s nod. “The activities falling within the processing and non-processing areas have to be monitored to ensure the given parameters are not breached,” the official said.

As per SEZ rules, the processing area for all SEZs cannot be less than 50% of the total area. The housing, schooling and other facilities have to be in proportion to the number of employees working in the SEZs.

With the relaxed authorisation rules, SEZ developers will now have the freedom to start putting in place the essential infrastructure as soon as they get their zones notified without waiting for the BoA to meet. “Developers will not have to bide time till the BoA decides to meet. Work can start as soon as the notification appears,” the official said.
Sudarshan Rodriguez





Sudarshan Rodriguez,

Senior Research Associate,

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology

and the Environment (ATREE)



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