Mumbai: A political battle is in the making in Maharashtra, whose Revenue Minister Narayan Rane has said there is no bar on land acquisition for the Reliance SEZ project despite Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s explicit orders to halt it.
The Revenue Minister told reporters during an informal chat that there was no reason to halt the land acquisition exercise and it would continue as per rules.
Deshmukh had in March put a freeze on land acquisitions after a Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee team headed by Sanjay Nirupam and Ramseth Thakur warned of a social flare up in Raigad district, where the proposed multi-product SEZ would come up.
The project, promoted by Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani and RIL SEZ division head Anand Jain, last week failed to get clearance from the Board of Approvals as the Union Revenue Department wanted more details on measures proposed by the promoters to plug revenue leakages.
Earlier, an empowered Group of Ministers had put a cap on the size of SEZs to 5,000 hectares, whereas the land requirement for proposed Reliance SEZ is pegged at 10,000 hectares.
The controversial issue of land acquisition for the Maha-Mumbai SEZ project is now becoming a platform for the political battle between Deshmukh and Rane, who joined the Congress in 2005.