THE CENTRE’S new rehabilitation policy will not have any impact on SEZs, which have received approval in principle in Madhya Pradesh, as most of them are coming up on uncultivated land, say officials close to development of the zones in the State.
With the government’s SEZ policy drawing widespread criticism, the SEZ Board of Approval (BoA) meeting scheduled for January 19 was postponed indefinitely and is unlikely to be reconvened until the Centre announces the new rehabilitation policy for those who would be displaced by land acquisition.
With the Centre asking state governments to submit the details of land acquisition for SEZs all approved proposals have come under the scanner.
Six SEZ proposals have received in-principle approval in the State so far. These include a sector-specific SEZ by Hindalco, which is coming up on 2,025 hectares in Sidhi district and multi-product SEZs by Writers and Publishers Ltd near Indore (4,050 hectares), East Asiatic Infrastructure Corporation Private Ltd in Indore (1,214 hectares), United Infrastructure Pvt Ltd in Indore (1,000 hectares) and Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation in Gwalior (1,000 hectares).
“I don’t see any problems,” Principal Secretary (Industry) O P Rawat told HT when asked if these SEZs could face a delay due to new rehabilitation policy. “There is no controversy over land acquisition in the State, as the SEZs are coming up on uncultivated land and there is no displacement,” he said.
Indore SEZ Development Commissioner S K Bansal refused to comment on the land acquisition, saying it was a matter for the State Government and he was only concerned with sending inspection report to BoA for notification of SEZs that have received final approval.
“All I know is that Board of Approval meeting has been deferred and a rehabilitation policy is being worked out,” he said. The BoA gives final approval only after the company concerned completes land acquisition and other related formalities. So far, the State has received final approval for four IT SEZs for which land has already been acquired. Besides, two IT SEZs have been notified and one multi-product SEZ is operational in Pithampur.
Another senior government official associated with development of SEZs in the State was of the view that the new rehabilitation policy would not affect the State, “as there has been no controversy over SEZs in Madhya Pradesh so far.”
The SEZ policy has come in for increased criticism following violent protests at Nandigram in West Bengal where Indonesia’s Salim Group had proposed an SEZ. The State had its share of controversy over land acquisition for Auto Testing Track in Dhar district with tillers demanding compensation at par with market rates.