The state cabinet on Wednesday approved a new industry policy that allows investors in special economic zones (SEZ) to convert these projects into integrated industrial areas (IIAs).
Under the IIA scheme, investors must use 60% of the land for primary production, but the remaining 40% can be used for residential or commercial or allied manufacturing purposes.
While the Congress said the policy aims to encourage investment in industry by getting investors of de-notified SEZs to use the land acquired for industrial purpose, the NCP said it's a way of giving prime real estate to developers and making huge profits.
Of the 146 notified SEZs — tax-free enclaves focused on exports — in Maharashtra, only 17 are operational, while 22 have been de-notified or withdrawn because of changes in the Centre's tax policy.
Around 31,000 hectares have been acquired, mostly through private deals, for the 22 SEZs.