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Nath wants super SEZs

The commerce and industry ministry has formulated a manufacturing investment region policy that proposes to create dedicated manufacturing hubs, reports Gaurav Choudhury.

business Updated: Aug 13, 2007 03:53 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

The commerce and industry ministry has formulated a manufacturing investment region policy that proposes to create dedicated manufacturing hubs encompassing several special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks.

A manufacturing investment region is expected to be a specifically delineated region with an area of about 250 sq km planned for manufacturing facilities for domestic and export-led production along with associated services and infrastructure.

The minimum processing area will be about 40 per cent of the total designated area, which may or may not be contiguous.

Sources said the commerce and industry ministry was pressing for early approval of the policy and had planned five such regions along the proposed Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor.

Work on the corridor is expected to commence in 2008 and an estimated $90 billion will be needed to set up the infrastructure for the first phase of the project. Japanese companies, particularly small and medium ones, are expected to invest over $10 billion during the first phase.

The manufacturing investment region policy is modeled on the lines of the petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals investment region policy, which was approved recently by the government.

Each manufacturing investment region will be a greenfield or a brownfield area with production units, public utilities, logistics divisions, environmental protection facilities, residential areas, social infrastructure and administrative services.

“This could include SEZs and existing industrial parks. The purpose is to encourage global-scale investment in the manufacturing sector to accelerate economic growth,” sources who did not wish to be identified said.

According to the draft policy, the manufacturing investment region could cover existing settlements and the state government concerned may or may not acquire the entire area comprising the region, but it will notify this under a relevant law for planning and zoning to ensure coordinated development.

Sources said the internal infrastructure of the manufacturing investment region would be built and managed by a developer or a group of developers. “The external linkages will be provided by the Centre and the state government concerned. The users of the external as well internal infrastructure will pay for its use, except to the extent that the government supports the service through budgetary resources,” sources said.

The draft policy states that the Centre would ensure the availability of external physical infrastructure linkages including rail, road, ports and telecommunications in a time-bound manner.

“The Centre might provide the necessary viability-gap funding through existing schemes for creation of these external infrastructure linkages,” sources said.