The Indian government on 9 May cleared 16 proposals to set up special economic zones (SEZs) from a list of nearly two dozen which had already received preliminary clearance.
Vedanta Alumina Ltd, Suzlon Infrastructure Ltd, real estate firm DLF Ltd and Unitech Ltd were among companies given the nod by the board of approvals, the government body that appproves SEZ proposals, a government statement said. The board approved Vedanta Alumina’s and DLF’s SEZs in Orissa, Suzlon’s two zones in Gujarat and Karnataka and Unitech’s IT SEZ in West Bengal. A senior official of the government said a decision on a proposal by Reliance Industries Ltd for an SEZ in Navi Mumbai, on the outskirts of Mumbai, had been deferred while the board awaited more details (from the company).
“A railway line and a road pass through the 1,250 hectare SEZ and the revenue department wanted to confirm if the steps proposed by the company (RIL) to prevent possible revenue loss through these transit routes (from goods meant for export being diverted to the local market) were adequate,” sources said. The official added that the proposal was likely to be taken up at the next meeting of the board on 31 May.
In that meeting, the board will take up 40 fresh proposals for SEZs that already have land. “As they have land, they will be given formal approval straight away. There are as many as 369 SEZ proposals pending before the board, of which 160 have land,” government officials added.
Six other SEZs that came for formal approval during the meeting were deferred because of issues related to land acquisition. The Board also gave formal approval to Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corp. for a 1,020 hectare multi-product SEZ at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli.
Last month, India ended a two-month freeze on its SEZ programme, which sought to create large tax-free industrial enclaves towards boosting industrial growth. The ruling United Progressive Alliance government had embarked on an ambitious plan to revitalize industry through SEZs in its quest for 10% annual economic growth, but had to review its policy after thousands of farmers across the country protested against the government’s compulsory land acquisition in some sites, claiming they had not been adequately compensated.
In West Bengal, 14 farmers were killed in clashes with police at Nandigram. The state government eventually shelved plans for an industrial park there that was to have been built with the help of Indonesia’s Salim Group.
PTI contributed to this story.