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Bengal government welcomes SEZ policy

Romita Datta

india Updated: Apr 05, 2007 22:47 IST

The West Bengal government, currently in the eye of a storm over setting up an SEZ in Nandigram, has welcomed the Centre’s decision of increasing the processing area from 35 per cent to 50 per cent in a particular SEZ.

Principal Secretary of Commerce and Industry Sabyasachi Sen also expressed satisfaction over the empowered group
of ministers’ decision to give the state governments a free hand in finalizing the minimum land ceiling limit of SEZs. The state government earlier had asked the Centre to reduce the minimum area of multi-product SEZs from 2,500 acres to 1,000 acres.

Though Sen refused to comment on the Centre prohibiting land acquisition for SEZs, he said the Bengal government would like that the developer should come to some agreement with the state government before acquiring land for any particular project in order to ensure its social liability.

The senior state government official, however, questioned the empowered group of ministers’ decision to ensure job of one person for every evicted family in the industries to be set up in the SEZ.

Arguing that ownership in the state was complicated and that often there were several owners of even a small plot of land, Sen said that in the proposed SEZ to be set up by the Salim Group of Indonesia, the Bengal government had ensured employment generation for the evicted people but not any direct employment in the SEZ.

The CPI(M), which had earlier put on hold all SEZs in the pipeline in Bengal till the Centre announced its policy on the matter, did not react saying it would need some time to study the proposal before taking a stand on the issue.

Following protracted resistance and death of 14 villagers, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has already announced that the proposed SEZ would be shifted from Nandigram to Haldia.

First Published: Apr 05, 2007 22:45 IST