The demand for setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) in Uttar Pradesh had come from unexpected quarters.
The 100-odd surviving manufacturers of traditional perfumes, more popularly known as ‘ittar’, have been demanding the establishment of an SEZ in Kannuaj - the hub for the world's most popular perfumes made from flower extracts and other natural compounds.
“On March 13, 2006, we made the first ever demand for an SEZ in Kannauj. A delegation of perfumers met Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav urging him to take up the matter with the central government for setting up an SEZ. The Chief Minister has agreed,” said Pushpraj Jain, a leading Kannauj-based perfumery unit owner and vice president of the perfumers association.
However, it was later decided by the perfumers that they would urge the Chief Minister to allow setting up of a SEZ in Kannauj where perfumers could sell products in the domestic traffic area. This kind of an arrangement did not require central government's prior permission for setting up SEZ', he added.
Jain said that ever since the March 13 meeting with the Chief Minister in Lucknow there had been atleast four meetings so far but the Chief Minister is still undecided. “The assembly polls are taking up his time now so we shall wait further and see what happens in the coming months,” he said resignedly.
Samajwadi Party MP Akhilesh Yadav from Kannuaj, had been unable to raise the SEZ issue during the Lok Sabha proceedings, he added.