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Left to suggest amendments on SEZ to Govt

india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 01:25 IST

The Left parties are expected to submit a joint note on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to the government by the weekend.

A draft note is in the process of being circulated among all four parties, CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc. After changes are incorporated, the note will be handed over to the government.

"It's been in the works for some time. It has been delayed because some Left leaders were not in town. But it will be submitted to the government in the next 48 hours," CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat said on Wednesday.

Karat added that the final note would be prepared after all parties have incorporated their views on the contentious SEZ issue. "There will be no meeting of the four parties on the issue. The draft will be circulated and changes incorporated," Karat said.

It is likely that the views of the CPI (M) would be projected more in the note as it's the largest party among the four. At least one Left party, the RSP, is against the concept of SEZ.

During the All India Convention of RSP's Samyukta Kisan Sabha, held in Kanpur on October 15 and 16, the party passed a resolution on SEZ.

It warned the "Govt of India to refrain from any such activities (meaning setting up SEZs) which may in turn, push the interests of the common people to the brink of disaster."

"The question is whether to accept any SEZ model at all. It's not a question of the Bengal model or the Kerala model. We are questioning the basic principle. It's against farmers, especially against small and marginal ones. SEZs are export-oriented and the interest of production would be related to export. The peasants after losing their land would be badly affected," says RSP leader Abani Roy.

The CPI (M), and also the CPI, are more in favour of amending the SEZ Act but continuing with it. The CPI (M) Central Committee in September had demanded changes in the SEZ Act and Rules.

"There has to be a cap on the amount of land to be allotted. Secondly, the stipulation of land to be used in a SEZ for industry must be increased to at least 50 per cent and 25 per cent for related infrastructure. Thirdly, tax exemption proposals must be reviewed and exemption from taxes must be drastically pruned," were some of the demands that the Central Committee had made.

D Raja, CPI secretary, said one point that will be emphasised in the note would be the exclusion of fertile lands from SEZ. "One-crop land or wastelands should be developed. And it should also be ensured that SEZs shouldn't be concentrated in a few states. This would lead to regional imbalance," Raja said.

sutirthopatranobis@hindustantimes.com

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