Investors in Maharashtra, who have acquired land for special economic zones (SEZ) but are not willing to start constructing infrastructure due to lack of clarity in the national SEZ policy, will be allowed to opt out of the scheme and use the land for non-SEZ purposes.
“We have not yet finalised the new industry policy but it will give an option (to investors) to pull out or stay put. Though information technology and pharma SEZs are working fine, the SEZs in manufacturing are worried because of (an impending) taxation policy by the Centre,” chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told industrialists affiliated to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), at the Sahyadri Guest House, on Thursday.
The CM said if investors surrender the land, additional land will become available for industry. “The state industrial corporation, which has its own estates, will get more land to develop social infrastructure so that modern industrial townships are created.”
Currently, the state faces land acquisition hurdles for any developmental or industry project. Maharashtra has 163 formally approved SEZs – second highest after Andhra Pradesh. Sixteen have got in-principle approval and 63 are already notified. SEZs like Reliance's 'Mahamumbai' in Raigad had to be shelved because of opposition from land owners.
Chavan has promised investors quick decision-making, uninterrupted power, ample water, and a substitute for octroi tax. But he rued inconsistent industrial growth and urged corporates to invest in backward areas. He apprised the FICCI delegation of the drought crisis in Maharashtra and feared that the situation might affect the state’s growth rate.
Harsh Goenka, Ashvin Dani, Mukul Kasliwal, and ex-bureaucrat Sanjay Ubale were a few industralists who interacted with Chavan. Ubale suggested that a separate agency be formed to create industrial infrastructure.