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Reliance turns on cash tap for SEZ land

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 23:10 IST

The Reliance group has sought to calm the storm of protest — and expedite land acquisition — surrounding its Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) in Raigad district by announcing record compensation for landowners.

On Monday, Reliance said it would pay Rs 25 lakh per hectare (2.5 acres) of agricultural land and Rs 12.5 lakh per hectare for uncultivated land. This is 10 times the price quoted by the Ready Reckoner.

Reliance has also promised to hand over 12.5 per cent of the developed land to the original owners, thus ensuring that none of the 75,000 residents of the 45 villages covered by the project are displaced. It has further sweetened the offer by offering job guarantees. Rs 90 crore will be invested to improve village infrastructure.

“This is the largest ever compensation package offered anywhere in India to acquire land. This will create a new benchmark for SEZs,” said Dilip Chaware, president (corporate communications), MSEZ.

Reliance is allowed to purchase land in the region under the ‘consent route’ of the Land Acquisition Act. So far, over 1,000 hectares have been purchased. The new package will also be applicable to those who have already parted with their land. Reliance will also be bound by any higher compensation announced by a state government committee.

While Reliance hopes it can purchase the 10,000 hectares it requires, any balance will be covered by the state-sponsored acquisition process. However, the government has so far not made any headway in acquiring land in the region.

The MSEZ is part of the Maha Mumbai mega project being promoted by the Reliance Group. Maha Mumbai comprises another SEZ that will be located in Belapur-Dronagiri and known as the Navi Mumbai SEZ (NMSEZ).

NMSEZ is a joint venture with City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). In this case, over 1,600 hectares have been transferred to Reliance, while the remaining 3,400 hectares are being acquired, said officials.

Together, the two SEZs will comprise 14,000 hectares, roughly 140 sq km (one-third the size of Mumbai) and will involve an investment of Rs 30,000 crore.

The companies setting up shop in the SEZs will invest another Rs 3 lakh crore. “We expect to generate two million jobs and house one million people in the mega city. We will provide a lifestyle unheard of in India,” Chaware said.

The two SEZs will have housing colonies, non-polluting industrial units and financial and banking services. Over Rs 16,000 crore will be invested in infrastructure, including Rewas port, a sea link, water supply and a 2,000 MW power plant.

Email Lalatendu Mishra: lalatendu .mishra@hindustantimes.com


What is Maha Mumbai?

It comprises two special economic zones — Mumbai SEZ (MSEZ) and Navi Mumbai SEZ (NMSEZ). MSEZ will cover 10,000 hectares, while NMSEZ will span 4,000 hectares. Together, they will form India’s largest private city, spread across 140 sq km — one-third the size of Mumbai. It will be outside the jurisdiction of any civic body and will have its own infrastructure, like power supply, water sources, port, etc.

What will the SEZs have?

Housing colonies, non-polluting industrial units, financial and banking services. About one million people will set up residence across Maha Mumbai.

What is the economic benefit?

Roughly two million jobs will be generated. The promoters will invest Rs 30,000 crore, while the industrial units will invest Rs 3 lakh crore. Over Rs 16,000 crore will be invested in infrastructure.

What are the hurdles facing Maha Mumbai?

There has been a storm of protest from villagers whose land is being acquired. On Monday, Reliance announced a record compensation package to expedite land acquisition for MSEZ.

What has Reliance offered?

Rs 25 lakh per hectare of agricultural land and Rs 12.5 lakh per hectare of uncultivated land —10 times the prices quoted by the Ready Reckoner. Reliance will also hand over 12.5 per cent of developed land to the original owners, thus ensuring that none of the 75,000 residents of the 45 villages covered by the project are displaced. There are also job guarantees and Rs 90 crore investment in village infrastructure.

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