At the meeting, though senior NCP ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, RR Patil and Jayant Patil expressed reservations about the special economic zone exit option, the party's offensive lacked full strength as deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar stayed out of the row. In its January 9 edition, HT had reported that Chavan had met Pawar for his support for the policy.
Chavan and industries minister Narayan Rane defended the SEZ exit option, which permits the conversion of land acquired for tax-free enclaves into Integrated Industrial Areas, wherein 40% of this land would be reserved for residential and commercial purposes.
The NCP, which has criticised this clause saying it favours developers, wants 15% of the developed land to be given to farmers from whom the government acquired the land.
Chavan said a clause to return a certain quantum of developed land per 100 hectares acquired by the state for industrial purpose to farmers has been in place since 2007. "We explained this to those who had doubts [about the exit policy]. All such land was acquired under this regulation," he said.
However, two NCP ministers said they were promised that the required changes would be made in the policy.