Protests by farmers to land acquisition notwithstanding, the SEZ juggernaut is all set to move on when the high-powered Board of Approvals takes up 37 more proposals, including two from Maharashtra on Wednesday.
Besides the Tatas' ambitious Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Gopalpur in Orissa, the proposals listed for clearance at the BoA meeting include two major projects of realty and financial services firm IndiaBulls in Maharashtra, official sources said.
IndiaBulls has plans to set up two multi-product SEZs in the state spread over an area of 1,500 hectares each.
If fresh proposals on the BoA's agenda get cleared, the total number of SEZs approved — both formally and in principle — will add up to a huge 440.
The Board is meeting after a gap of three months while protests by farmers and political parties against acquisition of land increased during this period.
Though Singur car project of the Tatas does not belong to SEZ category, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee was on hunger strike for 25 days against the land acquisition.
Later violent protests broke out in Nandigram, where Indonesia's Salim Group is planning a mega SEZ.
Concerned over the rising agitations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday announced the government's intention to come out with a policy on rehabilitation of those displaced by large industrial projects.
In the meantime, the Commerce Ministry has recommended to the states that they should amend their land acquisition rules to adequately compensate the farmers.