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Cabinet nod to turn Navi Mumbai SEZ into industrial city

The Special Economic Zone project, spread across 5,288 acres and located around 35km from Mumbai will now be developed as an Integrated Industrial Area.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2018 12:48 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,navi mumbai,maharashtra cabinet
In September last year, the state had sought time from the SEZ Board to sort out regulatory issues of NMSEZ, as it had run out of extensions.(HT File)

The long-pending Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ) project, spread across 5,288 acres and located around 35km from Mumbai, will now be developed as an industrial city.

The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to City and Industrial Development Corporation’s (Cidco) proposal to convert the SEZ into an Integrated Industrial Area (IIA).

Cidco has 26 per cent stake in NMSEZ, while the rest 74 per cent is held by Reliance Industries (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani’s personal entities, Jai Corp Limited promoted by Anand Jain and Nikhil Gandhi’s SKIL Infrastructure Limited.

The developers will now have to move the SEZ Board, which comes under the central government, to formally denotify the area as a trade enclave.

In September last year, the state had sought time from the SEZ Board to sort out regulatory issues of NMSEZ, as it had run out of extensions.

The Navi Mumbai IIA will be allowed to exploit 15 per cent of the total area, or around 729 acres, for residential and commercial use, while 85 per cent of the area has to be utilised for industry, which means having IT parks, manufacturing units, research facilities, warehouses or start-up hubs.

The new industrial city will come up on prime realty, which is located close to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

From the access point of view, too, the IIA will be close to the proposed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a sea bridge that will connect south Mumbai to the mainland.

Under IIA, the developer has been tasked to provide basic infrastructure and amenities within the area, including roads, sewerage, schools, etc.

Given the scale of the project, it is expected that a swanky new city will come up on the area, with residential gated complexes, shopping malls and commercial towers.

Despite repeated attempts to get a response on Tuesday’s developments, Anand Jain was not available for comment.

A RIL spokesperson said the company does not have any stake in NMSEZ, it is the personal investment of RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani.

A committee led by the state chief secretary Sumit Mullick has been tasked to clear further modalities, including financial valuation of the project.

The committee will also decide the levy to be paid to Cidco for repeated extensions to the SEZ and the rate of revenue to be paid to Cidco once the project starts clocking profits.

The cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod as per the state’s 2013 IIA policy that was drafted to provide SEZs with an exit option if they became unviable owing to change in tax regime or global slowdown.

Under the policy, developers are allowed to exploit 40 per cent of the area for residential and commercial use, while 60 per cent has to be kept aside for industry.

However, in 2013, the cabinet had not allowed NMSEZ to take the exit option, given that it would have allowed the developers to exploit far more land for residential and commercial use than industry.

The land had originally been acquired to develop 85 per cent area for industry.

“In 2013, the cabinet asked Cidco to come back for a go ahead if the developers still wanted to exit the SEZ,” said Bhushan Gagrani, managing director, Cidco.

“After Tuesday’s clearance, the developers will have to move the Centre’s SEZ Board to formally denotify the area as a trade enclave. They will then submit their future business plans to us.”

The state now has 28 operational SEZs and another 50 have been notified as trade enclaves. While the IIA policy was expected to do well, not many SEZs have opted for it.

The last such approval for partial exit from a trade enclave was when an IIA was granted to Khed SEZ to be developed across 4,500 acres by Bharat Forge and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Khed SEZ has since been divided into a sector specific SEZ and an IIA.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 09:53 IST