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Nitish against Centre's move to create SEZs

He said that SEZs will create a 'country within the country,' and are irrelevant to the Indian context, reports Vijay Swaroop.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 23:37 IST

Chief minister Nitish Kumar is against the Centre’s move to create Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country and rejected it by saying that it would create a ‘country within the country.’

Talking to media persons after his Janata Darbar, Kumar said creation of SEZs would not serve any purpose as the concept had been borrowed from some developed countries but had no relevance in Indian context.

He also appealed to the Prime Minister to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the pros and cons of SEZ before taking a final decision. “I personally feel that acquisition of large chunk of agricultural land of the farmers in the name of industrialisation would not serve any purpose. Hence, I have told the Centre in very clear terms that the Bihar Government is opposed to creation of SEZs,” he said.

Kumar, however, added that this doesn’t mean that he was opposed to industrialisation. “For the development of any State, industrialisation was a must as it would reduce State’s dependence on agriculture. But the farmers need to be adequately compensated for parting with their agricultural land, so that they can earn their livelihood,” he opined, and added that the use of fertile land for industrialisation should be the last, but not the first resort.

Kumar said his party has already intimated the PM that JD (U) is not in favour of creating SEZs. The CM said during his recent visit to Bihta, some farmers approached him and complained that their arable land was being acquired for industrialisation purpose. “I immediately directed the officials to stop the process and look for non-fertile land in the vicinity,” he said.

The Chief Minister once again clarified that his government had no plans to lap the Tata’s low-budget car project in view of land problem in West Bengal. “If Tatas come with some other project, we will definitely thin over it,” he said.

First Published: Jan 30, 2007 23:37 IST