KOLKATA: The chemical hub which was slated to come up at Nandigram and is now being moved to Haldia will be divided into two zones—one, a special economic zone (SEZ) and the other a chemical cluster, said the West Bengal government’s principal secretary for commerce and industry, Sabyasachi Sen.
The chemical hub which was proposed at Nandigram was earlier entirely slated as an SEZ to be built on 9,850 acres.
“There will be investors who may not want to be part of the SEZ,” said Sen, explaining the logic of dividing the Nandigram project into two zones.
What could also have weighed on the collective mind of the government is the large-scale unrest that the project faced in Nandigram. The project was plagued by land acquisition issues and also over unfair compensation to farmers for the land being acquired for these zones.
The relocation of the chemical hub project from Nandigram has also had an impact on another high-profile project in the state. The state government, on Wednesday, reviewed the various projects it has awarded to Indonesia-based Salim group with non-resident Indian businessman Prasun Mukherji, who also represents the Indonesian group. The government indicated that the Nandigram chemical hub will move to Haldia, where Salim already has a preliminary clearance from the Union government for setting up another multi-product SEZ involving about 12,350 acres.
But with the chemical hub moving to Haldia, the proposed multi-product SEZ will have to be moved out of Haldia and find a new home and it is yet to be decided where it will go. The West Bengal government is even open to allowing Salim to get into direct acquisition of land for the project.
“Salim has indicated to us that they are still with us,” Sen said. “They are ready for whatever we offer,” he said, when asked about the relocation. The government said its priority is the chemical hub.
“This will anyway take 15 years for development so it is not as if we have to acquirethe entire land at one go,” he added.
In August, it will be one year since the Salim projects were given clearance by the group of ministers and it remains to be seen if the projects will survive a review, given that the land for them is yet to be acquired for them to be moved for formal approval.