Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No irrigated lands for SEZs, says Industries Minister

No irrigated lands for SEZs, says Industries Minister

Special Correspondent


KIADB directed to acquire only dry lands for SEZs
The Centre has cleared SEZs in Hubli-Dharwad, Gulbarga, Bidar, Belgaum
and Mysore

BANGALORE: The Government has decided against acquiring irrigated lands
for establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the State, Industries
Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu has said.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Naidu said the Industries
Department had directed the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board
(KIADB) to acquire only dry lands for SEZs.

The Centre had recently cleared SEZs in Hubli-Dharwad, Gulbarga, Bidar,
Belgaum and Mysore. Except the SEZ in Hubli-Dharwad, the others were
sector specific, he said.

The State Government had been developing SEZs for pharmacy and
biotechnology, textiles, food processing and agro-based industries in
Hassan and SEZ for information technology in Mangalore.

Mr. Naidu said the department was holding an investors' meet in Belgaum
on March 8.

On the same day, a job fair had been organised for unemployed graduates
under the Suvarna Kayaka Shikshana Yojane.

A few private firms had agreed to participate in the fair. In Raichur,
the job fair would be held on March 10, he said.

The industries in and around Bellary district were facing severe
scarcity of water. The department had submitted a proposal to the Water
Resources Department to supply 5 tmcft of water either from the
Tungabhadra Dam or the Alamatti Dam, he said.

For inclusion of industry-related courses in the college syllabus, Mr.
Naidu said the department had convened a meeting of vice-chancellors and
education experts on March 5.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Amendment in SEZ policy mooted

Tuesday February 27 2007 10:28 IST
NITTE: The person giving up his land for Special Economic Zone must be
taken as the part of the programme. A policy in this regard to make him
access the benefits of SEZ must be brought in, said the economic advisor
to Prime Minister and Director of National Institute of Public Finance
and New Delhi Dr M Govind Rao.

He was presented his papers at the Colloquium on ‘Emerging India: Issues
and Concerns’, organised by Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management
(JKSHIM), Nitte on the occasion of the inauguration of its new e-campus,
here on Monday.

„The concept of SEZ facilitates with faster clearence of licencing,
world class infrastructure and fiscal incentives like tax holiday. Does
this mean that the country, other than SEZs, will not deserve better
clearence machinary, better infrastructure or tax exemptions?,” Dr Rao

A clear and simple revenue collection system, a good Tax Information
System will easily increase the revenue collection, he added. Chairman
of Apar Industries Dr N D Desai stressed the need for strengthening
Water Department in India.

„What oil is to Arab Countries, water is to India. But we could manage
only eight per cent of rain water. We have to manage water as Taiwanies
do. They generate power by hydel projects from smaller water streams,
using smaller turbains. Government should encourage such projects in
India too,” Dr Desai said.

Industrial Consultant H R Alva in his presentation stressed the need for
entreprenural development and innovation for reaching a double digit GDP

Honorary Professor of JKSHIM Dr N S Shetty, Chairman and Managing
Director of Indo-American Hybrid Seeds Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, Dr Manmohan
Attavar, Chairman of Karnataka Bank Ananthakrishna, Principal Advisor
(Rtd) to Reserve Bank of India Dr N A Majumdar, President of Primacy
Industries Ltd V K Talithaya and others also participated.

Protest march against suicides by farmers, SEZs

Madhur Tankha

Activists demand creation of a Zero Hunger Act

NEW DELHI: Members of Youth for Justice, Kisan Log Abhiyan and MCKS Food
for Hungry Foundation jointly staged a march at Jantar Mantar here on
Sunday protesting against the continuing farmers' suicides.

Wearing masks, the protesters holding banners like "The Constitution
Guarantees Me Right to Life Yet Death Haunts Me All The Time" shouted
slogans against the United Progressive Alliance Government's policies
that were leading to lack of livelihood for farmers across the country.
They called for a Zero Hunger Act.

Claiming that the Haryana Government had sent notices to farmers of
Rewari to hand over their agricultural land for Special Economic Zones,
Kisan Lok Abhiyan State president Dinesh Joshi said: "We don't mind
giving barren land, but parting with fertile agricultural land for big
multi-national companies is quite unreasonable."

Stating that he had received a notice from the State Government to
vacate his agricultural land, Lal Singh Yadav of Haryana said he grows
"bajra" and mustard in his 10 acre agricultural land but will now be
left with no option but to hand over his ancestral land to the
administration. "At least farmers should have the right to decide
whether they want to sell their land nor not. And the price paid to us
by the administration is pittance."

Sharing their concerns, a number of Delhi University students under the
Youth for Justice banner marched with the farmers. Stating that they
interacted with farmers of Vidarbha, Youth for Justice representative
Kapil Mishra said the youth and the farmers had come on a common
platform to awaken the Government so that it comes out with a
farmer-friendly budget.

Demanding separate packages and waving off loans for farmers in all the
affected districts, Mr. Mishra said organic farming should be encouraged.

"Since 1997, over 25,000 farmers across the country have taken their own
lives. The worst affected places are Warangal, Amravati, Vidarbha,
Karimnagar and Nizamabad. Even though we are boasting of 8 per cent
economic growth, the grim fact is that our farmers are committing
suicide. This means our policy-makers need to change their approach
towards running the economy," said Mr. Mishra.

Besides travelling to Vidarbha next week in March for a first hand
experience with the situation prevailing in the rural areas, Youth for
Justice members will visit Capital's Connaught Place and Ansal Plaza
every Sunday to distribute pamphlets to make Generation X aware of the
farmers' plight.

Special duty waiver on handsets made in SEZs goes

Our Bureau

`Move will affect cost benefit vis-à-vis imported handsets'


New Delhi Feb 27 In a move that could hurt the plans of mobile handset
manufacturers in the country, the Government has withdrawn the exemption
of 4 per cent special additional duty on handsets manufactured in
Special Economic Zones. The Ministry of Finance issued a notification to
this effect on February 21.

A number of companies including Nokia and Samsung have started
manufacturing handsets in the country while others like Motorola and
Sony Ericsson are in the process of setting up a plant.

According to the Indian Cellular Association which represents the
interests of handset manufacturers, the notification will jeopardise
these plans as it would eliminate the cost difference between imported
handsets and those manufactured at the SEZs.

"The entire Sriperumbudur SEZ region consisting of the three biggest
world-class companies and more than 20 upcoming ancillary industries
will come to a grinding halt following the notification. We hope this
will be rectified," said Mr Pankaj Mohindroo, President, ICA.

Earlier the Government had carved out three windows with zero-duty
environments, that is, SEZs, Export Oriented Units and Domestic Tariff
Area. However, the February 21 notification has introduced 4 per cent
duty in the SEZ environment, making the Sriperumbudur SEZ areas
non-competitive compared to other units in the EOU and DTA environments
located elsewhere in the country. "The SEZ units are now on the same
footing as imported goods with regard to customs duty, but the SEZs are
not competitive with imported China-origin goods given the over-high
transaction costs in India and relatively poor quality of
infrastructure," ICA said.

Handset manufacturers have requested the Communication Ministry to
intervene. "At a time when the UPA Government is promoting manufacturing
in India, this step will jeopardise plans made by a number of companies.
This anomaly needs to be rectified," said Mr N.K. Goyal, Chairman
Emeritus, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India

Amendment in SEZ policy mooted

Tuesday February 27 2007 10:28 IST
NITTE: The person giving up his land for Special Economic Zone must be
taken as the part of the programme. A policy in this regard to make him
access the benefits of SEZ must be brought in, said the economic advisor
to Prime Minister and Director of National Institute of Public Finance
and New Delhi Dr M Govind Rao.

He was presented his papers at the Colloquium on ‘Emerging India: Issues
and Concerns’, organised by Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management
(JKSHIM), Nitte on the occasion of the inauguration of its new e-campus,
here on Monday.

„The concept of SEZ facilitates with faster clearence of licencing,
world class infrastructure and fiscal incentives like tax holiday. Does
this mean that the country, other than SEZs, will not deserve better
clearence machinary, better infrastructure or tax exemptions?,” Dr Rao

A clear and simple revenue collection system, a good Tax Information
System will easily increase the revenue collection, he added. Chairman
of Apar Industries Dr N D Desai stressed the need for strengthening
Water Department in India.

„What oil is to Arab Countries, water is to India. But we could manage
only eight per cent of rain water. We have to manage water as Taiwanies
do. They generate power by hydel projects from smaller water streams,
using smaller turbains. Government should encourage such projects in
India too,” Dr Desai said.

Industrial Consultant H R Alva in his presentation stressed the need for
entreprenural development and innovation for reaching a double digit GDP

Honorary Professor of JKSHIM Dr N S Shetty, Chairman and Managing
Director of Indo-American Hybrid Seeds Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, Dr Manmohan
Attavar, Chairman of Karnataka Bank Ananthakrishna, Principal Advisor
(Rtd) to Reserve Bank of India Dr N A Majumdar, President of Primacy
Industries Ltd V K Talithaya and others also participated.

Friday, February 23, 2007

VKKS appeals people to oppose SEZ

PTI[ SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2007 01:00:00 PM]

THANE: The `Vishesh Arthik Kshetra Kruti Samiti' (VAKKS) has appealed to
all persons to oppose the development of special economic zones (SEZ) in
the country, especially in Maharashtra.

"The SEZ development is an ill-advised, blind folded, hasty and
anti-people decision of the Central and State Governments, considering
the prevailing socio-economic conditions in our country," Sanjay
Vadhavkar, a trade union leader leading anti-SEZ activists said.

He made it clear that they were not opposed to industrialisation, nor
export promotion and earnings, but to the manner in which they were done.

VAKKS has been conducting sustained campaign amongst farmers, and other
villagers and workers in Pen, Panvel and Uran talukas, about dangerous
effects of SEZ on livelihood of the locals.

RIL unveils SEZ rehab package

Posted online: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 0031 hours IST

MUMBAI, FEB 19: Even as the Centre is yet to take a call on
rehabilitation schemes for people displaced by the upcoming special
economic zones (SEZs), Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Monday released
a package for those evicted by its SEZ project in Raigad district of
In its relief and rehabilitation package, the Mumbai SEZ Company (MSEZ),
controlled by RIL, offers a job for a member of every displaced family,
a proportionate share of 12.5% of the SEZ’s developed land to every
landholder, and compensation at market rates.

MSEZ, which has so far purchased over 1,000 acres by consent in the
coastal Raigad district for the SEZ, plans to provide two years’
sustenance payment for landless labourers. The company will also spend
Rs 90 crore to upgrade infrastructure in 45 villages.

MSEZ said it would purchase land under paddy cultivation at Rs 10 lakh
an acre and unproductive land at Rs 5 lakh an acre in the project area.
As a first option, the company will allocate 12.5% of the developed land
in proportion to the original holding to every legal owner. The second
option is a one-time down payment of Rs 5 lakh an acre originally sold.
The third option is a lifetime payment of Rs 5,000 a month.

MSEZ’s rehabilitation package is yet to receive clearance from the state
cabinet sub-committee, led by rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam.

No SEZs on farmlands: Rane

PTI[ TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2007 02:10:19 PM]

PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane has asserted that the state
will not allow any Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in its farmlands.
"Whatever SEZs are planned fall in the barren and rocky patches, which
cannot be used for any other purpose," Rane told reporters here.
The state is in the midst of a political controversy over SEZs with the
main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding to put on hold
all SEZ proposals.
The Centre had approved four SEZs in the state, which were later put on
hold. The BJP had charged that the government had applied for nine more
"As per my knowledge, we have not sought nine more SEZs. There may be
four to five more," Rane said.
He said the SEZs were envisaged considering employment generation
requirements in the state. Pointing out to the gems and jewellery SEZ in
the remote Sattari taluka, he said such industries are pollution-free
and will employ the locals.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Maharashtra SEZ players to be freed from stamp duty, registration fee for 10 years

Posted online: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

MUMBAI, FEB 19: Maharashtra, which has received BoA (Board of Approval)
nod for setting up 72 special economic zones (SEZs), has decided to give
SEZ developers, co-developers and units operating in these zones stamp
duty exemption for 10 years, under the Bombay Stamp Duty Act, 1958. They
will also be exempted from paying registration fee, under the
Registration Act, 1908, for 10 years. The state Cabinet at its meeting
held last week gave its approval to the move.

• SEZ developers were reluctant to enter into land deals for want of a
fresh notification
• The initial proposal was for a 25-years exemption, but the state
Cabinet shot it down

State government sources told FE, “The decision was necessitated as the
transfer of title of land in several SEZs was put on hold in the absence
of the state government's decision in this regard. Although exemption in
stamp duty was in place since 2001, the notification in this regard
lapsed in March 2006 and thus SEZ developers were reluctant to enter
into land deals for want of fresh notification. With the state Cabinet
approval, a fresh notification will be issued whereby exemption will be
given for 10 years. Although the initial proposal was for 25 years'
exemption, the state Cabinet shot it down and reduced it to 10 years.”

The exemption in respect of stamp duty and registration fee will be
available with effect from the date of issue of letter of approval for
setting up the SEZ, under sub-section 10 of section 3 of the Central Act.

Mukesh aide to head Mumbai SEZs; Reliance Cos to fund them

Tuesday February 20 2007 00:00 IST

Mukesh aide to head Mumbai SEZs; Reliance Cos to fund them PTI

MUMBAI: The two Reliance multi-product SEZs coming up in the city
outskirts - Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) and Navi Mumbai special
economic zone (NMSEZ) would be funded by Reliance-promoted Companies and
headed by Mukesh Ambani's point person Anand Jain.

"Anand Jain would be the chairman of these two SEZs (MSEZ and NMSEZ)
coming up in the outskirts of Mumbai. Reliance Group companies would be
the promoters for them," NMSEZ president, Corporate Communication, Dilip
Chaware said here.

The Company is developing the NMSEZ in a joint venture with CIDCO, a
Maharashtra government agency that has 26 per cent stake in the project.
Asked if group flagship Reliance Industries would fund these projects,
Chaware said "no". He, however, declined to divulge any further details
of the group Companies that would pump in the money.

Asked if Mukesh Ambani would control some direct stake in the SEZs he
said: "Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Group companies and Anand Jain would
be the shareholders of these SEZs."

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be created for these SEZ's and
there will also be a separate SPV for developing infrastructure
facilities. On the land acquisition issue, Chaware said the NMSEZ would
require 4,000 hectares of which 1,600 hectares have been sanctioned by
the state government and the remaining is yet to be sanctioned.

A minimum of 1,000 hectares is required for acquiring to obtain the
final notification. The project has got all the required environment
clearances and is awaiting the Union government approval on the

Apart from investment of Rs 15,000 crore in developing infrastructure in
the two SEZs, an additional Rs 16,000 crore will be spent on development
of Rewas Port (Rs 3,000 crore), trans harbour link (Rs 4,000 crore),
water supply (Rs 1,000 cr) and a 2,000 mw power plant (Rs 5,000 crore)

Both SEZs would be developed as integrated projects and would establish
a city in the demarcated areas, Chaware said. He said land acquisition
for the MSEZ is expected to be completed by the year-end and the two
mega SEZs will be developed over a period of 10-15 years.

Though it was difficult to give the exact number of units that can be
set up in these two SEZs he said, at least Rs three lakh crore worth of
investment was expected, providing employment for at least two million
people of which one million would live in the mini city.

The two SEZs are expected to export goods worth Rs 50,000 crore
annually, he said. He said the package of commensuration announced on
Monday was the best so far offered in the industry and the Company was
awaiting the recommendation of the state government- appointed committee
in this regard.

Chaware favoured limited number of SEZs in the country with smaller ones
joining hands with mega SEZs to from townships as in China. The
Singapore-based Jurong Corporation, a world leader in infrastructure,
has been entrusted the development of the two SEZs.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Farmers with no CLU selling out to SEZ at half the price



JHAJJAR/ NOIDA: Complexities involved in getting a land use change
approved by the state government is forcing farmers to sell land for
industrialisation projects at significantly lower prices.

In some cases, farmers are selling land at half the estimated market
price. For instance, Reliance Industries is buying land at a rate of
about Rs 20 lakh per acre for its Haryana SEZ project which, sources
say, has a open market price of about Rs 28-30 lakh. The gap is more
significant in the case of SEZs being developed by various corporates in
Dadri and Greater Noida areas of UP, where farmers are selling land at
about Rs 10-12 lakh per acre against an average market price of an
estimated Rs 25 lakh.

Approving a change in land use (CLU) is a prerogative of the local
district administration, and in the past, many cases of undue
favouritism have come to light, sources said. Moreover, certain
documents that a landlord needs to furnish while applying for a CLU have
become obsolete. “

One of the mandatory documents that a farmer needs to submit is a
khata-khautoni, which is an old revenue record. There are at least 12
such documents that need to be furnished. Even after that, there is no
guarantee that a CLU will be allowed,” an official in Noida’s land
records department said.

On the other hand, in case of companies developing SEZs in a tie-up with
states, the requisite land use comes as a part of the deal. “Not many
documents need to be furnished while selling land to a SEZ that has tied
up with a state government. In case of ancestral land, transactions have
taken place even if the owner has furnished a mere affidavit,” the
official said.

Even in such cases, the developers do not have to cough up an amount
equal to the actual market price as the circle rates at which the
transactions take place are fixed by state governments.

Kalam address to Parliament to touch on inflation, SEZ

Posted online: Friday, February 16, 2007 at 0118 hours IST

NEW DELHI, FEB 15: Unflagging inflationary trend and the controversy
over special economic zones (SEZs), which has been an eyesore for the
UPA government inspite of a dreamy 9% growth rate, are expected to be
highlighted by President APJ Abdul Kalam when he addresses a joint
sitting of Parliament before the beginning of the Budget session next week.
Interestingly, this will be the last address to the joint session of
Parliament as his term ends in July.

According to sources, the draft address of the President, which was
approved by the Cabinet on Thursday, is understood to contain references
to these contentious issues with which the UPA has been trying to tackle

They asserted that apart from the government’s achievements like 9% GDP
growth for two consecutive years, the address will mention the concerns
of the government over ever-increasing inflation and the ways to tackle it.

While talking on the issue of SEZs, President Kalam is expected to
highlight the provisions of proposed rehabilitation policy for farmers,
who get displaced in the process of industrialisation. The address,
besides emphasizing on increasing investment in the troubled agriculture
sector, will also mention country’s resurgence as a manufacturing hub
and a series of mega acquisitions by the Corporate India.

While finance minister P Chidambaram will present the Budget on February
28, railway minister Lalu Prasad will present the rail budget on
February 26. The Economic Survey will be tabled on February 27. The
Parliament will adjourn on March 21 to enable the standing committees to
consider the demands for grants of various ministries and departments
and prepare their report and will meet again on April 18. The sessions
likely to conclude on May 22, subject to exigencies of government business.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nuziveedu plans Rs 697-cr SEZ near Chennai



CHENNAI: The Rs 1,000-crore Nuziveedu Seeds group, which is developing
IT-integrated infrastructure projects across all major Indian cities,
has proposed to establish an IT/ITeS Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at
Sholinganallur, near Chennai, at an estimated cost of Rs 697 crore.

The Hyderabad-based group, a leading cotton seed producer of the
country, is planning to set up the SEZ on 80 acres. Nuziveedu was one of
the bidders for Standard Motor property near Chennai which ultimately
went to Shriram Property.

In the first week of February 2007, Nuziveedu Seeds (NSL) approached the
Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) for the SEZ
project. The proposed equity for the project is about Rs 300 crore.

TIDCO might consider picking up 2-2.5% of the total equity, subject to
board approval, TIDCO CMD S Ramasundaram told ET on Thursday.

Ennore SEZ set to take off following Rs 26 cr funding

Ennore SEZ set to take off following Rs 26 cr funding


CHENNAI: The multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) project, coming
up on 1,000 hectare at Ennore, in Tamil Nadu is expected to take off
following the Rs 26-crore allocation received under the Centre's
Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports (ASIDE)

The much awaited Ennore SEZ, near the first corporatised port, is
finally taking shape with the bottlenecks for developing the road and
rail access having been cleared.

The state-level export promotion committee, chaired by Chief Secretary L
K Tripathi, has sanctioned Rs 26 crore under the ASIDE funding scheme
for both road and rail access, a top official of Tamil Nadu industrial
development corporation (TIDCO) told ET.

In August 2004, the government gave its in-principle clearance. The
government has sanctioned Rs 16 crore for the road leading to the SEZ
and Rs 10 crore for a three kilometre rail link, he elaborated.

Tidco has filed an application for getting the formal nod from the Board
of Approval (Ministry of Commerce). Subject to the approval, the
allotment of space is scheduled to commence from April 2007. "The
marketing initiative of the site will also begin soon," the official said.

The Ennore SEZ is also planning to develop and connect the National
Highway five (NH5) route. While TIDCO would have an equity of 50%, the
balance would be held by SIPCOT and Ennore Port equally.

A special purpose vehicle, the Ennore SEZ Company (ESCO), formed for the
purpose, is implementing the project. Once commissioned, it is expected
to boost the export basket by an estimated Rs 9,000 crore. By then, the
employment generation is slated to cover 50,000 people. It is proposed
to implement the project in 18 months.

The topographic contour, boundary, soil investigation studies were
completed during the 2005-06 period. A comprehensive master plan has
also been chalked out for the project. The estimated project cost for
developing the infrastructure is about Rs 636 crore, according to sources.

The industrial suburb to the north of Chennai Ennore has the potential
to emerge as a huge industrial hub when the project takes shape, the
sources added.

It will attract investments for diverse industries such has general
engineering, pharma, garment, light engineering, plastic goods, leather
goods, electronics, auto components, logistics and container terminal.

"There are already enquiries received from various industries," the
sources said, adding the SEZ, which was 30 km away from the city limits,
was just a 45-minute drive from the airport. It has well-connected
rail-road infrastructure and the nearest railway station is Athipettu.

Maran opposes export obligation on SEZ units



NEW DELHI: Information technology minister Dayanidhi Maran has opposed
finance minister P Chidambaram’s suggestion of imposing an export
obligation on SEZ units. Mr Maran has argued that imposition of an
export obligation may act as a deterrent for SEZ investments in
IT-enabled services and telecom sectors. The FM had made a case for
imposition of export obligation on SEZ units in the meeting of the
empowered group of ministers (eGOM) on SEZs last month.

Meanwhile, the commerce department has brought to the notice of eGoM
chairman Pranab Mukherjee representations made by a number of formally
approved SEZs — Sri Lanka’s Brandix and domestic pharma firm Medilab —
which have bought machinery and employed people but couldn’t start work
because of the current freeze. The eGoM had put on hold fresh approvals
and notifications of SEZs in its meeting on January 22 till the time it
took a decision on necessary changes in regulations including imposition
of caps and ceilings. “The developers are worried about the future of
investments already made and are seeking an answer,” an official said.

At the eGOM meeting, Mr Chidambaram stressed the need to impose an
export obligation on the ground that while developers were getting
direct tax benefits, technically there was no obligation to export on
SEZ units if they did not import any capital goods or raw materials for
their units.

The present SEZ rules stipulate that all units in SEZs should be net
foreign exchange earners. Mr Chidambaram stated that there should be
some stipulation in the rules for mandatory exports from the SEZ and
developers should not get direct tax exemptions if the units do not export.

According to sources, Mr Chidambaram’s suggestion did not go down well
with the IT minister as he expressed apprehensions that an export
obligation could serve as a disincentive for future investments. Mr
Maran stated that his ministry was trying to attract big investments in
ITEs and telecom sectors from companies which may not focus primarily on
exports. The Nokia SEZ in Tamil Nadu, for instance, doesn’t have plans
to export but it is attracting investments from its ancillaries.

Of the 235 SEZs which have received formal approval from the government,
more than half are in the IT and ITES sectors.Interestingly, the
commerce department’s reaction to the finance minister’s proposal was
milder. While commerce minister Kamal Nath pointed out that an export
obligation cannot be imposed on developers as they only set up the basic
infrastructure, he said that units or SEZ as a unit could have an export

RIL sticks to time, to ferry workers to SEZ at Panvel



BANGALORE: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is opening a sea
corridor for its workforce at the upcoming special economic zone in
Panvel, which would see them skipping the clogged Mumbai roads and
cutting down the travel time. The corporate giant is expected to place
up to $50-million order for a fleet of big-sized commuter boats for
ferrying its employees to the SEZ, which is about 50 km away from the

Sources said Reliance Industries is in talks with several global vendors
for buying at least 30 boats initially in different categories including
the above 55 ft high speed commuter boats that can ferry around 200
people. Reliance Industries has already inducted few captains from
Indian Navy for developing the water transportation.

A Reliance spokesperson said that the water transport was one of the
options company was considering, but declined to comment further.
Sources said that the corporate giant was keen on developing the sea
route and increasing the fleet size once the development of the larger
SEZ in Uran, Panvel and Pen taluks, located closer to JNPT, gathers

Apart from the high-speed commuter boats priced upwards of Rs 10 crore
each, Reliance is also planning to buy ferry boats in the price range of
Rs 1.5-2 crore. The 45-55 ft ferry boats can ferry around 30 passengers.
The purchase list could also include 30 ft work boats priced at Rs 40-50
lakh. the 30 ft work boats can transport around 15 people.

Reliance is developing 14,000 hectare SEZ covering Uran Taluk, Pen and
Panvel. This includes the smaller SEZ spread across 4,000 hectare in
Panvel, which is currently under way. When completed, the entire SEZ
play is expected to employ up to 2 million people.“You take more time to
reach Navi Mumbai than Pune. So till all road and rail links are
developed between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, we are looking at water
transportation,” sources said.

PMO game for Japan-funded SEZs on Delhi-Mumbai route



NEW DELHI: Even as the government has imposed a freeze on approval of
new special economic zones (SEZ), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is
open to the idea of setting up multi-product SEZs along the proposed
Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor to be funded by Japan.

In a recent meeting on the India-Japan special economic partnership
initiatives, it was decided that new SEZs would be considered after the
concept paper on the industrial corridor is finalised in the next couple
of months.

In the meeting chaired by principal secretary to the PM, it was decided
that the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) would
inform the Japanese side about the nature of the industrial corridor as
envisaged by India and also discuss the nature of assistance.

Speaking to ET, official sources said that since the Indian government
has promised Japan that there would be SEZs on both sides of the
industrial corridor, it needed to be honoured. “Singapore has already
complained that India is not living up to the promises made while
attracting investments in SEZs from the country. Japan too might make
similar noises if the current impasse on the SEZ policy is not sorted
out soon,” an official said.

Japan and India had signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation
for the industrial corridor project in December. The 1,160-km corridor
to be developed along the Delhi-Mumbai multi-modal freight route is
expected to bring together clusters of high-quality infrastructure
including power facilities, SEZs, ports and rail connectivity to ports.

Since DIPP has plans to prepare a project report and present it to the
Japanese side in two-three months, the government needs to have a clear
policy on SEZs before that. On January 22, the empowered group of
ministers (eGoM) on SEZs had put on hold fresh approvals and
notifications of SEZs till it decided on the future course of the policy.

The eGoM is exploring the possibility of imposing ceilings and caps on
SEZs and making other regulatory changes in the SEZ policy following
protests from Left and other parties on misuse of the policy. Since the
eGoM has not disclosed plans for its next meeting, more than 300
developers, both domestic and foreign, whose proposals are pending with
the government have their fingers crossed.

SEZs needed for growth: Yunus

Special Correspondent

Peasants should not suffer in the process of land acquisition

Muhammad Yunus

KOLKATA: Agricultural land should be made available for industry but it
should also be ensured that peasants are not hard hit in the process of
land acquisition, Dr. Muhammad Yunus said here on Sunday. The Nobel
laureate who is in the city on a two-day visit said, "There should be no
debate over the requirement of agricultural land for industry without
which economic growth will lag behind."

On Special Economic Zones, the Nobel laureate said: "SEZs are needed for
growth. They are being set up all across the world and we cannot sit idle."

He emphasised, however, that the interests of the peasants ought to be
protected as much as possible in the process of industrialisation.

The Bangladeshi micro-credit pioneer added that he was laying emphasis
on the concept of "social business" for the betterment of society.
Explaining the concept Dr. Yunus said that while the principal motive of
business now was often seen as making profit the main thrust of "social
business" was towards building infrastructure for health care, drinking
water supplies and housing.

On the Grameen Bank's activities and the relevance of the model adopted
by it in countries besides Bangladesh, he said providing micro-level
credit was prevalent in one form or another all over India too. West
Bengal is no exception, he added.

State ready to provide alternative land for SEZs

Priscilla Jebaraj

SIPCOT land may be offered in case Centre continues its freeze

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Government is ready to provide alternative land
options to investors in case the Centre continues its freeze on SEZ
approvals and notifications, according to S. Balasubramanian, General
Manager of the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a FICCI summit here on Monday,
Mr. Balasubramanian said that SIPCOT land could be offered to companies,
which had planned to invest in various SEZs across the State. SIPCOT
owns 2,000 acres in Gangaikondan and Bargur, which could be utilised for
this purpose.

State under


With Tamil Nadu having actively wooed investors, both domestic and
global, Mr. Balasubramanian admitted that the government is under
pressure from a number of companies, including the Singapore-based
Ascendas, who have had to put their operations on hold.

The SEZ policy stalemate has been going on since the empowered Group of
Ministers on SEZs put a freeze on approvals and notifications on January
22, following protests from political parties and farmer groups over
forcible land acquisition by States.

Even SEZs which had acquired land and received formal approvals were put
on hold.

`SEZs have key role in development'


Rajya Sabha panel visits green park site


Convener promises ryots to discuss compensation issue
In all 54 special economic zones coming up in country

MAHABUBNAGAR: Rajya Sabha sub-committee on SEZs convener Kashiram Rana
has said that special economic zones will play a key role in the
development of country's economy.

The sub-committee headed by Mr. Rana and comprising of members K.
Keshava Rao, B. Raj Kishore Tripati and C. K. Chandrappan visited the
site of proposed green park in Jadcherla mandal of district on Monday.

Interacting with farmers whose lands were acquired for the green park,
the sub-committee convener said that he would make all efforts to
convince the Government to pay compensation according to present land
rates in the area.

The farmers who lost the lands for the special economic zone (green
park) were paid according to the market rates that existed in 2003.

Mr. Rana said that in all 54 special economic zones were coming up in
the country, which would transform the country's economic growth.

Jobs sought

State special representative at Delhi Mallu Ravi urged the sub-committee
to pay compensation to the oustees as per the present rates, besides
jobs to the family members of the oustees in the industries that would
come up in the proposed green park.

Jadcherla MLA C. Laxma Rao also expressed similar views with the
sub-committee members. District Collector V. Usha rani, RDO Raghunath,
Jadcherla MRO Naseeroddin and others were also present.

Plea for SEZ in Tiruchi will be taken up with Chief Minister: Nehru

Special Correspondent

Suggests interaction between industry and Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran

TIRUCHI: The plea for setting up a special economic zone for heavy
engineering industries in the district will be taken up with the Chief
Minister, Transport Minister K.N. Nehru said here on Saturday.

This and other demands put forward by the BHEL Small and Medium
Industries Association (BHELSSIA) will be followed up, Mr. Nehru said
inaugurating a seminar on "Opportunities in fabrication and engineering
industries" organised by the District Industries Centre.

The association sought the expansion of the Nagapattinam port to
facilitate exports from the region and strengthening of infrastructure
at the Small Industries Development Corporation Industrial Estate at

Mr. Nehru suggested that an interaction be arranged between industry
representatives of Tiruchi and Union Minister for Communication and
Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran to discuss ways to expedite

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj said Tiruchi was ideally placed and
possessed good infrastructure to attract more investments. The
Government's decision to set up a special economic zone at Perambalur
would have beneficial spin-off for the city.

Collector Ashish Vachhani said the district administration had recently
transferred about 135 acres to the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu
for setting up an Information Technology Park. Several IT majors were
expected to set up their base here by next year.

A. Chandra Babu, General Manager, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited,
suggested that prospective entrepreneurs could explore the feasibility
of setting up industries in the Mathur area along the Pudukottai Highway.

R. Srinivasan, field officer, Engineering Export Promotion Council, said
export of engineering goods was growing by about 15 per cent every year
in the country.

During 2005-06, about Rs.16,220 crore worth of goods were exported from
the southern region. Of this, exports from Tamil Nadu accounted for
about 60 per cent.

Mayor Sarubala R. Tondaiman, K. Govindarajan, General Manager, District
Industries Centre spoke.

Centre should not go ahead with SEZs: Prakash Karat

Special Correspondent

Government must consider stand of Left parties


"Only Revolutionary Socialist Party totally opposed to SEZs"
Differences between Left partners over Land Reforms Bill can be sorted
out through bi-lateral discussions

KOLKATA: The Centre should not go ahead with further approvals for the
setting up of SEZs till it comes up with a clear-cut understanding of
the changes that have to be made, Communist Party of India (M) general
secretary Prakash Karat said here on Friday.

He added that the Government must take into consideration the stand of
the Left parties."We have already made clear our stand [on the matter]"
he said. The matter was being referred to the Group of Ministers by the
Left parties, which had earlier submitted a note containing their views
to the Centre.

The SEZ issue will figure at the meeting of the CPI (M)'s Polit Bureau
in Delhi as would the prevailing political situation in the country.

He did not think that the four Left parties were opposed to the SEZs per
se and it was only the Revolutionary Socialist Party, which was
"totally" opposed to them.

Mr. Karat who attended a meeting of the party's State Secretariat during
the day also said that the differences between the Left partners in West
Bengal over the proposed amendments to be brought to the West Bengal
Land Reforms [Amendment] Bill, 2006 could be sorted out through
bi-lateral discussions. The partners had failed to reach a consensus on
the issue at a meeting of the Left Front Committee here on Thursday.

Asked to comment on the matter veteran Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu,
admitted that "there are differences" between the different constituents
regarding the Bill and there is need for further talks separately with
the partners. "Only after these talks will it be decided whether
amendments can be made to the Bill" as had been proposed by the State

`Land acquisition should be for public purposes only'

K.V. Kurmanath


Guntur Feb. 10 The Union Minister of State for Commerce, Mr Jairam
Ramesh, feels that governments should not acquire land for private
industries and special economic zones (SEZs).

He suggested according equity shares to the farmers giving land for the
projects, besides ensuring a constant stream of income for 25-30 years
as against one-time payment of compensation.

"When States acquire land, it should be used for public purposes such as
irrigation, power and highways. States should not be acquiring land for
private SEZs," he said.

Talking to Business Line, the Minister said it (land deals for setting
up SEZs) should be done between the private players and the landowner,
with the State restricting itself to set down the rules for such
acquisition and monitor the process in order to ensure payment of market


On payment of compensation, Mr Jairam Ramesh advocated against one-time
payment. "The down payment should be minimum. We should provide for
annuity, ensuring a steady income stream for the landowner for 25-30
years. There should be set rules for mode of payments," he explained.

He also pointed out that the landowners should not be denied benefits of
appreciation. Whatever compensation they received, it was based on the
present market value.

Though the Government had cleared about 60 AEZs (agricultural exports
zones), most of them had not taken off largely because the States were
not able to provide the required infrastructure.

"They could not attract the anchor private entrepreneurs who could drive
agriculture exports," he said.

"We have created a window of Rs 50 crore in the Ministry to get some of
these AEZs going. APEDA has identified a couple of areas with maximum
potential to take off. Some of these could be flowers from Sikkim,
pineapple from north-east and mangoes from Nuziveedu and Chittoor," he

The Minister hoped that at least five to six AEZs would happen soon.

On agricultural exports, he said the share of these exports was 10 per
cent of in country's total exports as against 20 per cent in the mid-1990s.

There were many reasons for this decline. Contributions from other
sectors grew faster than that of agricultural exports.

Review all proposed SEZ projects'

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Feb. 9

The BJP is seeking a complete re-screening of all the proposed 467 SEZ
projects in the country which have been cleared by the Union Government,
said Mr Kirit Somaiya, party leader and member of the BJP's National
Executive. He told presspersons that in the name of SEZs, the developers
are seeking clearances for private lands which have been reserved under
the Forest Act or Costal Regulation Zone Act. This is a fraudulent way
of acquiring land and the Union Government must further investigate the
matter. The SEZ developers and the Union Commerce Ministry are both
interpreting the SEZ Act as an overriding Act. However it must be kept
in mind that other Acts are also equally applicable, he said. Mr Somaiya
said that the BJP was not against SEZs but wanted transparency in
awarding and setting up the zones. There should be a healthy
rehabilitation policy and adequate compensation for people displaced by
the SEZ. In the case of SEZs for IT, the tax benefits which would be
terminated in 2008 should be extended by another five years, given the
vital role played by the IT industry in building the national economy,
he said.

TIDCO to start marketing space at Ennore SEZ

R. Balaji

Govt sanctions Rs 26 crore for road, rail works

The details
Final notification likely at the next meeting of the Board of Approval.
No hassles over land acquisition as entire land is with Government


Chennai Feb. 9 The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO)
plans to start marketing space at the multiproduct SEZ in Ennore from

The Government has sanctioned funds for road and rail connectivity with
the State-level Export Promotion Committee chaired by the Chief
Secretary, Mr L.K. Tripathy, sanctioning Rs 26 crore for the works.
Expected to be the first of the multiproduct special economic zones to
take off in the State, it is in the final stages of approval.

TIDCO plans to implement the road and rail work immediately with Rs 16
crore for the road linking it to the Ennore Port and Rs 10 crore for a
3-km rail link, according to officials.

The SEZ is promoted by TIDCO, which holds a 50 per cent stake. The State
Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) and the Ennore
Port hold 25 per cent equity each. They have promoted Ennore SEZ Company
Ltd for developing the port-based multiproduct SEZ. The equity in the
first phase is Rs 100 crore with the project estimated to cost Rs 600
crore, including land, for development.

Mahindra Acres Consulting Engineers Ltd has submitted the draft master
plan for the 3,000-acre SEZ.

No land issues

The Ennore SEZ is among the ones that have been granted in-principle
approval and the final notification is expected at the next meeting of
the Board of Approval. Officials pointed out that there are no land
acquisition hassles as the entire land meant for the SEZ is available
with the Government agencies. The paper work for transferring the land
available with the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation is in the final stages
and TIDCO has sought transfer of an additional 1,000 acres.

The Ennore SEZ has generated keen interest among manufacturers due to
the large chunk of ready space available. Officials pointed out that to
the South and West of Chennai there was little space available and land
prices were spiralling upwards. North Chennai with the road, rail and
port link offers an ideal location for industries.

In addition to the road linking the SEZ to the Ennore Port to the South,
the port itself is provides a six- or eight-lane road connecting it to
the NH 5 leading to Kolkata.

The SEZ will provide space for non-polluting industries such as
engineering, information technology, auto components, garments and
leather products. It would have container freight station facilities and
free trade warehousing zone.

Marg to develop 2 SEZs at Rs 1,442 cr investment

Posted online: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 0010 hours IST

CHENNAI, FEB 12: Infrastructure development company, Marg Constructions
Ltd will be developing two special economic zones (SEZs) at Cheyyur in
Kancheepuram district with an investment of Rs 1,442 crore. The company
is waiting for the final nod from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (
FIPB) to ahead with the project.
The company has already acquired land to the tune of 612 acres for the
projects. Chief financial officer of the company, Brij Bhushan, said "we
have already obtained an in-principle clearance for both the projects.
We now need only the final go ahead from FIPB and it should happen
hopefully by next month. Of the total cost of Rs 1,442 crore, about Rs
122 crore will be the equity component, Rs 286 crore will be the debt
part and the balance of Rs 1,034 crore will be advances from the
prospective customers. We will do the financial closure for the projects
within two months of obtaining the final clearance. The overall cost
will be shared almost equally between both the projects".


One of the SEZs being planned is for light engineering and auto
ancillary industries and the other one is for the services industry
covering sectors like IT, ITeS, KPO, BPO, research and development,
health care and education. While the light engineering SEZ would come up
in 312 acres of land, the services SEZ would be developed in about 300
acres of land. "We are hopeful of making both the SEZs successful. In
fact already we have got enquiries from MNCs to set up their facility
within the SEZs. For example, couple of companies from Sweden have shown
interest in the light engineering and auto ancillary SEZ", he said.

Talking about the company's plans for setting up an SEZ at Tirupati in
Andhra Pradesh, Bhushan said, "we are in the process of acquiring about
25 acres of land for the purpose. The SEZ is coming up in Kotramangalam
village and will be exclusively for the IT and ITeS sector".

Drop move on SEZs, HMS tells Centre

Drop move on SEZs, HMS tells Centre
Monday February 12 2007 12:13 IST
TIRUCHY: Quoting from the remarks of Union Finance Minister P
Chidambaram, who reportedly said that the formation of Special Economic
Zones (SEZs) would incur the country a revenue loss to the tune of one
lakh crore rupees in four years due to the various tax exemptions
granted to the multinationals, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) has urged
the Centre to immediately drop the formation of SEZs in the larger
interests of the country.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the 26th state conference of
the Tamil Nadu State Committee of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), which
concluded on Sunday.

As the multinationals grabbed lakhs of acres of agricultural lands from
the farmers, it deprived the farmers and lakhs of agricultural labourers
of their livelihood, Hind Mazdoor Sabha said.

In another resolution, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha appealed to the centre to
expand the rural employment assurance scheme to all the rural and urban
areas and provide proper safeguards to keep it free from corruption and
other malpractices during the implementation of the scheme.

The conference appealed to the State Government to immediately implement
the long pending demand for the wage hike of three lakh cotton mill workers.

The conference also urged the government to take necessary steps to
release the arrears of the employees of the closed mills and in the
meantime to grant a monthly assistance of Rs 2000.

In another resolution, it appealed to the government to enhance the
monthly pension for the unorganised sector workers to Rs 1000, ex-gratia
for accidental death to Rs 3 lakh and natural death to one lakh rupees.

The conference urged the centre to exempt the profit making public
sector undertakings (PSUs) from disinvestment.

The conference also sought sales tax exemption to the supply of cement
to the 384 panchayat unions done through the District Rural Development
Agency (DRDA).

Friday, February 09, 2007

Nuziveedu plans Rs 697-cr SEZ near Chennai



CHENNAI: The Rs 1,000-crore Nuziveedu Seeds group, which is developing
IT-integrated infrastructure projects across all major Indian cities,
has proposed to establish an IT/ITeS Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at
Sholinganallur, near Chennai, at an estimated cost of Rs 697 crore.

The Hyderabad-based group, a leading cotton seed producer of the
country, is planning to set up the SEZ on 80 acres. Nuziveedu was one of
the bidders for Standard Motor property near Chennai which ultimately
went to Shriram Property.

In the first week of February 2007, Nuziveedu Seeds (NSL) approached the
Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) for the SEZ
project. The proposed equity for the project is about Rs 300 crore.

TIDCO might consider picking up 2-2.5% of the total equity, subject to
board approval, TIDCO CMD S Ramasundaram told ET on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Forward Bloc against SEZs in West Bengal

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Forward Bloc is against any move to set up special economic
zones (SEZs) in West Bengal.

"It is not a question of [whether they are set up] on agricultural or
non-agricultural land," general secretary of the party's State committee
Ashok Ghosh said.

By this, the party seems to have gone one step further than other Left
parties on the matter - others having confined their opposition to
setting up of SEZs on agricultural land and demanding amendments to
legislation related to such zones.

"Under no circumstances will we allow SEZs to come up in the State... We
will also launch a nation-wide campaign on the issue. We have made our
views on the matter known to the Left Front committee and are
reiterating it here today," he said.

Mr. Ghosh was referring to talks between the State Government and Salim
Group over the setting up of SEZs in parts of South 24 Parganas district
and Nandigram area of Purbo Medinipur where six persons were killed in
group clashes on January 6-7.

Despite an assurance from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee shortly
after the incident that there would no acquisition of land for the
proposed SEZ till discussions are held with leaders at the panchayat
level, Nandigram had been tense, he said.

There were reports of clashes between CPI (M) supporters and those
opposing the project in the Khejuri area on the outskirts of Nandigram.
Police were unable to enter the village to restore order, as people dug
up the road leading to it on Sunday.

"We are not against setting up of industries. We only insist that the
industrialisation process should be undertaken in deference to specific
[socio-economic] conditions prevalent in India," he said.

The Trinamool Congress organised an hour-long "chakka jam" across the
State during the day in protest against re-imposition of prohibitory
orders at Singur.

SEZs flout labour laws, says TNGEU president

Special Correspondent

"Exploit employees by extracting 12-hour work daily"

CUDDALORE: The units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are flagrantly
flouting labour laws and are treating the employees as bonded labourers,
alleged K. Balasubramanian, president of the Tamil Nadu Government
Employees' Union (TNGEU).

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Mr. Balasubramanian said
the units in the SEZs used to exploit employees by extracting 12-hour
work daily, without providing them adequate compensation.

The units used to sack the employees at any time, without any valid
reasons, and yet the employees were prohibited from forming unions to
assert their rights.

He said already 237 SEZs had been set up across the country and 37 more
were in the pipeline. At present there were 400 SEZs in the world, and
two-third of them were located in India.

The TNGEU president further said thousands of acres of land allotted to
the SEZs were concentrated in the private lands.

Whenever the industrialists quit the SEZs, owing to losses or for other
reasons, they would dispose of the lands at a premium, thus transforming
themselves into realtors.

Therefore, he called upon the Centre and the State Governments to take
suitable measures to protect the employees' rights and to prevent
transfer of lands for profits.

`Raise I-T limit'

Mr. Balasubramanian urged the Centre to increase the Income Tax limit
for individuals from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh and enhance the interest
rate on the general provident fund contribution from eight to 12 per
cent. The TNGEU was vehemently opposed to the concept of the
contributory pension funds that provided for compulsory investment of
five per cent of the super-annuation benefits on shares. He also sought
the lifting of the eligibility and entitlement ceiling fixed for getting
bonus. Mr. Balasubramanian noted that the United Progressive Alliance
government was yet to fulfil its election promise of passing legislation
on right to strike.

The TNGEU was opposed to allowing foreign hands in the banking sector,
because investment of every Re 1 would enable them to access Rs.150, and
thus result in funneling of funds.

Mr. Balasubramanian said the State Government should give retirement
benefits to those who had retired from services during the period from
April 1,2003 to June 30,2008.

"SEZs flouting labour laws"

Special Correspondent

"Exploit employees by extracting 12-hour work daily"

CUDDALORE: The units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are flouting
labour laws and treating employees as bonded labourers, K.
Balasubramanian, president of the Tamil Nadu Government Employees'
Union, said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the units exploited
employees by extracting 12 hours of work daily without any compensation.
They used to sack them at any time, without any reason.

Mundra SEZ: Leveraging airport, seaport advantage

Virendra Pandit

Travelling time to Mundra has come down by 3 hours

Mundra (Gujarat), Feb. 4

With the commissioning of an aerodrome on January 30, the Adani
Group-promoted Mundra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) becomes the first SEZ
in the country to have both a seaport as well as an airport within it.

The company said that the aerodrome is self-contained and has facilities
for navigation, fire control, ambulance, etc.

The airport has a 1,900-m-long airstrip and can handle executive jets
with ease.

With the commissioning of this airport, the travelling time to Mundra
has come down by three hours, as commuters are not required to travel by
road from either Bhuj or Kandla, which are located nearly 60 km from the

The Mundra aerodrome became fully functional on January 30 for landing
and take-off of executive jets.

The company is evaluating the possibilities of creating world-class
greens in the aerodrome area, which can be used to establish a golf
course with 12 holes at a future date.

Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd was created last year by
integrating two of Adani Group's infrastructure projects - Gujarat Adani
Port Ltd and the Mundra SEZ Ltd - to leverage expertise acquired in
logistics management.

The new entity is developing and managing the largest privately
developed port in the country and a multi-sector SEZ spread over 100 sq
km in Kutch district.

The port has been operational since 1998 and cargo volumes are
anticipated to touch 50 million tonnes by 2010 from the current level of
18 million tonnes.

The SEZ is envisaged as a multi-sector, multi-modal one and is
benchmarked with the best such zones in the world.

Its logistical advantage is the rail, road, sea and air connectivity and
the operational convenience afforded by the combination of a port and an
SEZ, a company release said.

Brandix begins production at VSEZ

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, Feb. 5

Brandix India, which is setting up an apparel city at Atchyuthapuram in
Visakhapatnam district on 1,000 acres allotted by the State Government,
has started commercial production at the temporary facility in the
Visakhapatnam special economic zone (VSEZ), according to a company release.

The unit was inaugurated recently at VSEZ, Duvvada in the presence of Mr
Udena Wickremasooriya, one of the Directors, the release added. During
the past few months, the company has trained a total of 400 women in
apparel making and has appointed 222 of them. The export of lingerie
brands would begin this month.

Singur SEZ package is ideal, says Yechury

Our Bureau

`There is nothing wrong in acquiring agricultural lands, if it was
absolutely necessary.'


Visakhapatnam Feb. 6 There is a need for bringing about amendments in
the Special Economic Zones Act to do justice to those losing lands and
also to ensure proper use of land acquired for the purpose, according to
Mr Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the CPI (M) and also member
of the Rajya Sabha.

At a press meet here on Tuesday, he said the Singur SEZ package was
ideal and other States should emulate West Bengal in this respect. He
said that farmers should be paid 50 per cent more than the market rate
for the lands acquired for SEZs.

Besides, he said, 50 per cent of the land allotted for SEZs should be
used for production, which currently was only 25, and 25 per cent should
be used for infrastructure development. The remaining 25 per cent should
be used for commercial housing.

He said the compensation package should also take into account the
agricultural labour in the area and they should also be compensated.
They should be imparted training and absorbed in the units coming up in

He said there was nothing wrong in acquiring agricultural lands, if it
was absolutely necessary, provided only one crop was being grown on the
land and it was a rainfed area.

Referring to the Singur controversy, Mr Yechury said, "We have acquired
1,000 acres by paying 150 per cent of the market rate to the affected
farmers and we have also compensated the labour dependent on the farm
land. Therefore, there is no justification for an agitation. Both the
Congress and Trinamool Congress are distorting facts."


On the group of ministers set up under the chairmanship of Mr Pranab
Mukherjee for evolving a proper rehabilitation policy for those affected
by SEZs, he said there should be a uniform policy for all States. "We
also want the tax concessions to be reviewed. Besides, the labour laws
should be implemented in SEZs," he said.

He said the Union Government was in favour of implementing labour laws
in SEZs, but the States would have to pass the requisite laws, as it was
a State subject. "Therefore, we want the Centre to issue a directive to
the States," he added.

Mr Yechury, also the chairman of the Parliamentary standing committee on
transport, tourism and culture, said all efforts would be made to
develop inland waterways in the State and country.

1,000-acre SEZ for aerospace industry in Karnataka

Our Bureau


Bangalore Feb. 7 Next, there will be a 1,000-acre special economic zone
(SEZ) at Bangalore for aerospace industry.

"We are in the process of acquiring land for this," according to the
Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy, at the Aero India on

BEL signs two pacts

Bharat Electronics Ltd on Wednesday signed an MoU to set up a joint
venture company with Israel major, Elbit Systems Electro Optics (ELOP)
Ltd. The two will jointly develop, produce and market thermal imaging
and forward looking infrared cameras for Indian and global markets.

BEL gave an LoI to Elbit for the manufacture of tactical computers and
Elbit gave a supply order worth $0.45 million to BEL for a gun display
unit and other accessories required for Ireland.

BEL also signed an MoU with Northrop Grumman Corporation of the US to
explore potential co-production opportunities for domestic aerospace and
defence electronics requirements as well as Northrop Grumman's export
needs. It will contract manufacture for NG.

BEL met officials of Boeing to discuss possible offset projects and also
met officials of L3 Ocean Systems, the US and Azimuth, Israel.

Gripen team

The Swedish team of SAAB offering the JAS-39 Gripen fighters for IAF has
brought a record number of the fighters to the expo. Two 2-seater Gripen
- D; one single-seater Gripen-C flew in last week on ferry flights. The
aircraft belonging to the Swedish Air Force will take part in the daily
flying and static displays.

Raytheon's biz jets

US major Raytheon Aircraft Company has launched its brand new line of
mid-size and super light mid-jet business jets, the Hawker 750 and
Hawker 900XP for Indian customers.

The Hawker 750 is an ideal workhorse for the subcontinent and the 900XP
is for hauls up to West Asia, Europe and East Asia with one stop.

Priced at $11.2-11.9 million for two versions, the Hawker 900XP is due
for certification in third quarter of this year, start deliveries in the
fourth quarter and will launch Honeywell's new TFE731-50R engine.

Boeing in India

Boeing commercial Airplanes has committed to invest up to $185 million
in the country as part of its offset obligations from Air India's
purchase. The investment includes pilot training facilities, MRO unit at
Nashik and sourcing from HAL, IT majors TCS, Wipro, Infosys and Satyam,
according to Boeing Commercial's Senior Vice-President, Sales, Dr Dinesh

Its first Dreamliner will fly from India next year and Boeing continues
to be bullish on the country, Dr Keskar said.

Displaced farmers to play owners in SEZs



NEW DELHI: All that rhetoric over inclusive growth may finally acquire
some teeth, thanks to the Nandigram and Singur controversies. The Union
Cabinet is to consider a proposal that seeks to make farmers—whose lands
are taken away for large-scale industrial projects—a partner in the
equity harvest.

As per the proposal, if the company that takes over the land is unable
to offer agricultural land in lieu, minimum agricultural wages for 750
days will have to be paid in addition to normal compensation for the
land acquired. Also, if the acquirer is a private company and not a
state agency, farmers stand to gain shares of the project at par worth
20% of the wages.

Proposals to these effects are being discussed for amending the
rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy, likely to be considered by
the Cabinet soon. Government sources said these sweeteners could clear
the roadblocks holding up SEZ clearances.

Though the Centre already has an R&R policy, a new policy has been
proposed to improve the compensation component for families displaced by
any project. This has also become important in the wake of stiff
resistance to large-scale acquisition of agricultural land, especially

As per the proposals in the revised R&R policy, the land acquiring
agency, whether a corporate entity or a government agency, would have to
try to compensate the displaced family or individual by providing
adequate land for farming and bear the entire cost of relocation.

If the displaced family has lost jobs, they would have to offer
employment to one member of a nuclear family subject to availability.

Though the proposed R&R Policy would serve as model for projects
requiring acquisition of large tracts of land, states would have the
freedom to offer a better package promised in their own R&R policies.

In order to make the rehabilitation process more equitable, landless
workers would get first preference for work involving construction of
the industrial facilities or SEZs.

The land acquiring entity would also provide grant of Rs 10,000 per
hectare for land development if the displaced family in provided
wasteland. In case of agricultural land, this would be Rs 5,000 per
affected family for agricultural production.

Emergency land acquisition by ministry of defence would be kept out of
the proposed R&R package. However, the new policy would make it
mandatory upon acquiring companies to build in the entire cost of R&R
initiatives in the total project cost.

SEZ saga: Some cos as co-developers



NEW DELHI: The board of approval (BoA) on special economic zones (SEZs)
has accorded co-developer status to a number of developers of notified
SEZs including Motorola and Foxconn, Mahindras and Ascendas and Petronet
LNG and Kochi Port Trust. In a meeting on Friday, the BoA also approved
authorised operations for 30 notified SEZs.

Although the empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on SEZs had frozen
fresh approvals of SEZs as well as notifications of approved SEZs in its
meeting last week, the commerce department had managed to get its
permission to hold BoA meetings to give required clearances to the 63
notified SEZs. Notified SEZs cannot start operations till their
authorised operations are approved by the BoA. SEZs being developed by
more than one developer need to get a co-developer status from the BoA.

In Friday's meeting of the BoA, co-developer status was accorded to
Motorola India Pvt Ltd and Foxconn India Developer Pvt Ltd for the
SIPCOT SEZ at Sriperumbadur, Chennai. Authorised operations in respect
of these co-developers were also approved.

Co-developer status was also granted to the three co-developers in the
Mahindra world city SEZ in Chennai including Mahindra Integrated
Township Ltd, Mahindra Holiday Resorts and Ascendas Mahindra IT Park
Private Ltd.

Petronet LNG Limited was approved as a co-developer in Cochin Port Trust
while Integrated Warehousing Kandla Project Development Private Limited
was given co-developer status for a free trade warehousing zone in
Kandla SEZ.

Others to get co-developer status include Leela Lace Holdings Private
Limited as co-developer in Info Park SEZ at Kochi and DLF Assets Private
Limited as co-developer in the DLF Info City Developers (Chennai)
Limited -IT/ITES SEZ in Ramapuram, Chennai .

IT and ITES SEZs which got clearances for authorised operations include

HCL Technologies Ltd at Noida, Quarkcity India Private Limited at
Mohali, Wipro Limited in Pune, M L Dalmiya and Co. Ltd at Kolkata, Ansal
IT City and Parks Limited at Greater Noida and Satyam Computers Services
Limited at Bahadurpally Village, Andhra Pradesh.

Other SEZs which received clearances for authorised operations include
Zydus Infrastructure Private Limited's pharmaceuticals SEZ at Gujarat,
MIDC agro products SEZ at Latur, Maharashtra, Fab City SPV (India)
Limited for a sector specific SEZ for manufacturing and developing
semiconductor facility at Hyderabad and Whitefield Paper Mills Limited
for writing and printing papermill SEZ at Godavari District, Andhra

The BoA cannot take up fresh SEZ proposals for consideration till the
eGoM holds its next meeting and takes a view on a number of issues
including land acquisition by states and possible ceilings and caps on
SEZ numbers. A decision to freeze all fresh proposals and notifications
was taken by the eGoM last week following wide-scale protests from
farmers and various political parties over land-acquisition. About 174
SEZs which have received formal clearances but have not been notified
are eagerly awaiting the eGoMs decision.

SEZ land size to decide rehabilitation



NEW DELHI: The proposed rehabilitation policy may be giving jitters to
SEZ promoters but only 30-odd projects, that have got in-principle
clearance, will come under its ambit. The national rehabilitation and
resettlement policy for families displaced by mega projects, including
SEZs, proposes to cover only those projects which exceed 400 acres.

While land acquisition for 237 SEZ projects is complete, leaving them
out of the purview of the new resettlement policy, of the 162 SEZ
projects that have been given in-principle approval but are yet to
acquire land, only 30 are spread over 400 acres. Although the 400-acre
threshold is still under consultation among the different ministries —
some of which want it to be raised rather than cut down — the policy may
effectively leave out all but 30-odd SEZ proposals currently pending
with the government for approval.

In other words, only multi-product SEZs may have to adhere to the terms
of the proposed rehabilitation and resettlement policy that includes
providing a job and shares or some other benefit to the displaced
families. Incidentally, even the 400-acre threshold is facing opposition
from key ministries, including the defence, irrigation and transport and
highway ministries.

The defence ministry wants the limit to be raised to 1,000 acres while
the irrigation and transport ministry has expressed its inability to
provide a job to each and every displaced family where large tracts of
land are to be acquired. According to commerce ministry sources, of the
30 projects that may be covered by the new policy, 10-12 projects are
acquiring land by directly purchasing it from the farmers, leaving no
role for the state governments. Reliance is following this route for its
upcoming SEZ in Jhajjar, Haryana.

The commerce ministry is not ruling out the possibility of some of the
237 approved SEZs, where land acquisition is complete, opting out. Even
the multi-product SEZs, covered by the rehabilitation and resettlement
policy, may go in for a rethink after working out additional costs
involved in compensating the families displaced by it. According to a
commerce ministry projection, about 25% of the pending SEZ applications
may leave the race in view of the delays and additional costs.

This means that the new national rehabilitation and resettlement policy,
which will be put up for Cabinet approval soon, may not have a major
effect on the existing SEZ proposals. In fact, it may end up pushing up
the cost of major government projects, including textile parks, IT
parks, irrigation projects, highways and government buildings, as they
may now have to bear the additional burden of rehabilitating the
families displaced during land acquisition.

Singapore questions SEZ freeze



NEW DELHI: The Singapore government has demanded an explanation from the
Indian government for the current freeze on SEZ approvals and
notifications. Singapore-based realty major Ascendas has $1 bn of
investments lined up for its two proposed multi-product SEZs in Tamil
Nadu, which have now been put on hold.

In a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the ministry of
external affairs, the Singapore High Commission has expressed its
unhappiness about the uncertainty surrounding the future of SEZs in the

Concern over the SEZ stalemate has also been expressed by Robert Soros,
deputy chairman, Soros Fund Management, who is currently in India
scouting for opportunities to invest in multi-product SEZs. In a recent
meeting with commerce ministry officials, Mr Soros made enquiries about
the empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on SEZs presiding over the
future of the SEZ policy and the time by which the policy was expected
to stabilise.

The eGoM, in its last meeting on January 22, had put a freeze on SEZ
approvals and notifications following protests from political parties
and farmer groups over forcible land acquisition by states. Even SEZs
which had acquired land and had received formal approvals from the
Centre were put on hold.

The fact that the government has not come up with fresh dates for the
next meeting of the eGoM has made matters worse. Developers of as many
as 174 formally approved SEZs, some of whom have already bought
machinery and hired labour, now do not know what the future holds for them.

Speaking to ET, official sources said that Singapore is, especially,
disappointed over the freeze as senior officials from India had
personally met Singapore officials to persuade them to invest in Indian
SEZs. “The Singapore High Commission pointed out that after going to
such lengths to woo investments from the country, the Indian government
should not have allowed such uncertainty to seep in,” an official said.

If the eGoM doesn’t settle the issue soon, future investments from
foreign players may also dry up. While Mr Soros was assured that the
current freeze on SEZs was temporary and things would normalise soon,
his interests may get transferred to other destinations like Vietnam and
the Philippines if the policy was not sorted out in the near future, the
official added. Mr Soros is now touring India looking for a suitable
place to set up his proposed multi-product SEZ.

CPM not against SEZs: Yechuri

Wednesday February 7 2007 10:46 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: CPM Politburo member and Chairman of Parliamentary
Committee on Tourism, Road Transport, Shipping, Ports and Water Sitaram
Yechuri has said his party is not against setting up of Special Economic
Zones (SEZs) provided they are located in non-agricultural lands and a
comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package is evolved to the
satisfaction of all aggrieved parties.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Sitaram said in cases where
there was no alternative to agricultural lands for setting up SEZs, the
primary policy should be not to disturb farmers and their dependents.

When his attention was drawn to the contradictory stand taken by the CPM
in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh on SEZs, Sitaram said the land was not
basically agriculture in nature there and claimed that the kind of
relief and rehabilitation package implemented in Singur was
comprehensive. The West Bengal Government took into consideration the
interests of land owners, tillers and farm labourers in evolving the
package, he said.

Sitaram opposed provision of blanket concessions to IT majors in Special
Economic Zones. He urged the government to reconsider the IT policy to
get a fair deal in any agreement with industry majors.

Replying to a question on ties with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, he
said the CPM did not have any alliance with it at any stage. It merely
had seat adjustments with the Congress only to avert division of votes
among non-BJP parties.

Save our SEZs

Reshape the idea, don’t reject it

Posted online: Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

It would be a pity if the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) baby were to be
thrown out with the bathwater of real estate scams and tax sops. Given
our inability to improve our infrastructure and administrative services
across the board, SEZs can prove a haven for manufacturers that, but for
such worries, are keen to set up shop in India. The current exercise by
the group of ministers (GoM) could, however, correct some distortions
that may have crept into the policy. At the outset, it is important to
reach clarity on the purpose of SEZs. The finance ministry seems to
indicate that SEZs are intended to provide a hassle-free environment for
exports, with net foreign exchange being their major obligation. But,
SEZs are not export promotion zones (EPZs). Their metric for success has
to be the growth of manufacturing and employment. The zones may export a
large portion of their output, but that is incidental to their core
purpose. Indeed, the grand-daddy of SEZs, Shenzhen, has not had a
particularly good record on ‘net foreign exchange’ earnings but it
helped shift almost all of Hong Kong’s manufacturing to mainland China.
However, a large number of the proposed SEZs, many of them specialised
for the IT sector, are less than a square mile in area, hardly the stuff
from which internationally competitive environments for manufacturing
are built. One cannot blame the finance ministry for confusing them with
EPZs and suspecting them to be tax havens masquerading as manufacturing
hubs. Indeed, many of these tax sops could be rationalised.

Sector-specific SEZs are also a curiosity, given that it is common for
diverse manufacturing activities to co-locate in good locations. But, it
is not clear whether we are prepared for large SEZs as world-class
manufacturing hubs, which will need extensive land acquisition. Leaving
it entirely to the private sector runs some risk of exploitation
allegations, and use of state power brings its own problems. A good
first step would be more transparency on the business plans of various
SEZs, so that their projected benefits are in the public domain. The
other neglected aspect of large SEZs is urban management. Large,
successful SEZs will shape into India’s new cities. If managed like our
existing cities, their benefits are likely to be that much lower.
Whether SEZs become real estate scams or not could well depend on how
this is addressed.

Soros keen to invest in Indian SEZs

Posted online: Thursday, February 08, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

NEW DELHI, FEB 7 : Unaffected by controversies, global financial market
heavyweight Soros group, has approached the centre, expressing interest
to invest in Special Economic Zones (sezs) in India.
Soros foundation deputy chairman Robert Soros, son of legendary investor
George Soros, met top officials of the commerce ministry last week and
conveyed his interest in investing in SEZs.

Soros sought clarity on government’s SEZ policy from officials and
enquired the finer details about the fiscal incentives provided in the act.

According to sources, the Soros family, known for running highly
successful funds all over the world, is keen on investing in
multi-product sezs which would require at least 1,000 hectare of land.
Soros also showed interest in technology zones.

However, the group has not yet zeroed in on the location. “Besides
Soros, investors from Japan and Singapore who were sitting on the
sidelines so for, have started showing interest in coming to India with
huge investments in SEZs,” sources said. However, officials are worried
over the fact that if controversies continue the global investors may
get discouraged.

Already FDI worth $14 billion is expected to flow to 63 SEZs, which have
been already been notified by the government.