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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

State tables bill to help SEZ exit

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 06, 2013
First Published: 01:13 IST(6/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:15 IST(6/4/2013)

With the state government tabling an amendment to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act, 1961, on Friday, promoters who have withdrawn from the special economic zones (SEZs) will soon be able to use 40 per cent of their total land for residential and commercial purposes.

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In January, the state Cabinet had approved a new industrial policy that allowed SEZs to exit and replace the outgoing projects with integrated industrial areas (IIAs). Under the scheme, investors must use 60 per cent of the land for primary production, while the remaining could be used for residential or commercial or allied manufacturing purposes.

While the Opposition had slammed the government, the clause in the exit policy had also created a rift between the ruling Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. The partners, however, resolved the differences amicably and passed the new policy in the following cabinet meeting without any change.

The policy’s proponent and industries minister Narayan Rane placed the amendment to the bill in the legislative Assembly on Friday. The amendment will be passed in due course of time.

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— tax-free enclaves focused on exports — in Maharashtra, only 17 are operational, while 22 have been de-notified or withdrawn because of changes in the Centre’s tax policy.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. They were to attract an investment of Rs1.60 lakh crore and create six lakh jobs.

The new policy allows promoters to apply to the Centre for getting their SEZs de-notified and adopt the state’s model to develop 60 per cent of the land for industries and use the remaining for residential and commercial purposes. While de-notified private SEZs can join the scheme after getting the clearance, state nod is a must for joint venture projects with the government.

The state expects IIAs to encourage investors of de-notified or withdrawn SEZs to use the land acquired — mostly through private deals — for industrial purpose.

The availability of 10,220 hectares of land for residential and commercial development near Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune, owing to the conversion of SEZs into IIAs, is likely to lead to a real estate bonanza for promoters.


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