House panel seeks freeze on new SEZs, wants change in the law
Posted online: Saturday, July 07, 2007 at 0000 hours IST
NEW DELHI, JUL 6: A parliamentary committee on SEZs, headed by senior
BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, has demanded an "immediate freeze" on
the approval of new SEZs, until the law regarding this is amended to
"protect farmers and other stakeholders". The committee, in its report,
has also hit out at the UPA government for its "undue haste" in clearing
"hundreds" of SEZs.
"No further SEZs should be notified till the SEZ Act and Rules have been
amended to meet public concerns," the report, submitted to Rajya Sabha
chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat recently, said. "There is an imperative
need to understand the cause of farmers' agitation and grievance," the
"There should preferably be a ban on the use of irrigated double crop
land for setting up SEZs and normally waste and barren land should be
used," Joshi told reporters, while briefing on the contents of the
report. "Heavens will not fall if there is a delay," he retorted when
asked what if amending the Act takes much time. "Undue haste in
approving SEZs and their proliferation has contributed to the resistance
against the policy," he observed.
"We demand a ceiling of 2,000 hectares on multi-product SEZs coming up
on cultivable land. If cultivable land is indiscriminately given to
SEZs, the country would plunge into a famine-like situation," the former
Union minister said. "The directions should be incorporated in the Act,"
The committee, in its report, has also said that the members were not
allowed to meet affected farmers when visited Jhajjar in Haryana,
Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jamnagar and Mumbai. "The committee members are
pained to note that at some places, the farmers were not allowed to meet
MPs," Joshi said. "The government is bound to respond in the form of
Action Taken Report in three months. We will not let the issue rest
unless the government satisfies us," he added. He also said there should
not be any in-principle clearances.