With around 5,300 hectares of land lying unused and locked in several Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Maharashtra, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has cracked the whip and asked developers to get their projects going.
Fadnavis, who held a meeting with the three biggest developers — Navi Mumbai SEZ Private Limited, Khed Economic Infrastructure Private Limited (KEIPL) and IndiaBulls Infrastructure India Limited — last week, asked them to finalise their project plans and begin work within the next three months.
These three have the biggest SEZs in Maharashtra, covering 3,979 hectares in Navi Mumbai, near Pune and near Nashik, respectively. The land for these SEZs was acquired through the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and Maharashtra Industrial Deve-lopment Corporation (MIDC).
“I have told the SEZ developers that such huge land banks can’t be kept vacant. Work should be initiated on their projects within three months. As of now, all developers have agreed to continue with the SEZs and develop them,” Fadnavis told HT on Saturday.
While the chief minister did not reveal what action the government would take if work was not initiated in given timeframe, senior officials said the three developers would not get an extension of approval as SEZ, resulting in automatic de-notification.
“This was a business proposition. If it’s not working out even six years after the SEZ has been notified, the developers should opt out. We are just saying give us the land back on the basis of the lease agreement that was done if nothing is working out,” said a senior industries department official.
Navi Mumbai SEZ Private Limited is promoted jointly by CIDCO (26%) and a consortium of SKIL Infrastructure Limited and Dronagiri Infrastructure Private Limited.
Khed Economic Infrastructure Private Limited has 26% stake of MIDC, while the rest belongs to Bharat Forge. The IndiaBulls SEZ is also being developed in joint venture with MIDC.
Bharat Forge has already moved an application seeking de-notification of a major part of its SEZ, to opt for Integrated Industrial Areas (IIA) as per the state’s industrial policy.
Navi Mumbai SEZ Private Limited, however, has finalised its stance to continue as SEZ and moved for its sixth extension of formal approval before the SEZ Board of the ministry of commerce and industry. While the developer has got the government’s recommendation for an extension for smaller IT related nodes at Kalamboli, the biggest node at Dronagiri (1,223 hecatres) reserved for multi-product SEZ has not got the state’s approval yet. The developer has asked for splitting of the Dronagiri node into five smaller nodes to facilitate easier development. The agenda for the SEZ board meeting slated for August 27, which has the developer’s proposal, states that establishing contiguity in the land parcels for Dronagiri would come at the cost of Rs500 crore, which would make the project unviable. The agenda also states the developer, on the advice of CIDCO, the state government and the Make in India initiative of the government, has decided to continue with the SEZ option.
Sources told HT that since the state was keen on pushing the Navi Mumbai SEZ, given its proximity to Mumbai, JNPT port and the airport, this proposal of the developer of splitting Dronagiri node into five smaller units was likely to get a nod.