The Mumbai Special Economic Zone near Raigad promoted by Reliance Industries, that was in danger of being scrapped, has got a new lease of life with the Board of Approval (BOA) set up under the ministry of commerce and industry giving it a year’s extension.
The validity of BOA’s approval, decided at its May 31 meeting, is now August 7, 2012. This means the project developers have one more year to acquire land for the project. Reliance Industries spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.
The fate of the SEZ spread across 5,000 hectares, once termed among the largest in the country, was in limbo after the state government scrapped the land acquisition notification in February this year.
The process had lapsed in 2009 itself after the developers failed to acquire the required land from locals. The Mumbai SEZ had met with consistent protests from locals against acquisition.
The project developers were, however, not willing to call it quits. They approached the BOA for an extension of its in-principal approval pointing out that it had acquired 1,874 hectares at the proposed site but this was not contiguous and hence they required more time for land acquisition. The promoters also pointed out that the company had invested Rs 1,786 crore in the project.
A senior state government official told HT that the state government had no role to play in the proposed SEZ unless the developers approached the revenue department once again to initiate the land acquisition proceedings here.
However, even as Reliance’s Mumbai SEZ got an extension, an aligned project, a multi-product SEZ planned by Rewas Port Limited and promoted by the Reliance Group and the Maharashtra Maritime Board was denied an extension.
Rewas Port SEZ was being planned across 2,850 hectares in Rewas district as a massive transportation hub for servicing two Reliance Industries promoted SEZs in the region – Mumbai SEZ at Raigad and the Navi Mumbai SEZ.
The minutes of the BOA meeting noted that the request for an extension of in-principle approval was rejected as, “the developer had failed to acquire the land even after a lapse of four years since the grant of in-principle approval”.