GB Nagar district administration refuses to allow NSEZ to operate despite govt ordersUpdated: Apr 28, 2020 22:52 IST
The entrepreneurs of the Noida Special Economic Zone (NSEZ) of Gautam Buddh Nagar district are unhappy with the district administration’s decision of not granting them permission to operate despite notifications from the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and the state government to allow the operations of industries. Although the district administration has pointed out that the area falls under the containment zone, the entrepreneurs say that the administration has given permission to 13 units in the same area that are involved in the manufacture of medical items, such as PPE kits, sanitisers and masks.
As a result of this refusal, the SEZ units are staring at heavy losses. Ajay Goel, the president of NSEZ entrepreneurs’ association (NSEZEA), said that while the units are closed in this country, the export markets are still open. “Even amid Covid-19 crisis, our overseas customers are eagerly waiting for supplies from India. Our competitors from China, Vietnam and Malaysia are open, which are successfully diverting our orders, subsequently forcing the Indian exporters to suffer losses both in revenue and orders,” he said.
He further said that the MHA had issued an order, allowing the SEZ units to operate, provided that the employees of these units use dedicated vehicles and the units have only 30 to 40% occupancy. “Even the state government has issued an order to allow the SEZ units to operate, provided that Covid-19 norms are followed. But, when it came to district administration for taking a call, it outrightly refused, saying that the SEZ falls under the containment zone,” he said.
Echoing similar views, the NSEZEA vice-president Puneet Kapoor questioned the set of rules made by the district administration in declaring any area as containment zone. “The administration has its own whims and fancies in demarcating the areas around the hotspots. The gates of NSEZ are at least 1.5 kilometres away from the nearest hotspot (Kendriya Vihar-2 in Sec 82), but it falls in the containment zone. On the other hand, Swarnim Vihar that shares boundary with the same hotspot and the nearby market do not fall in the containment category,” he said.
Kapoor further said that most of the NSEZ units are on verge of losing their customers permanently if the exports orders are not fulfilled by these units. “We are unable to understand the administration’s logic behind this refusal. NSEZ has high boundaries and custom-controlled gates. Many units want to keep their employees quarantined within the closed complex during this period. Since all movements of persons and goods are regulated by the security officials of government of India, there is no scope of adversely affecting the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.
Vilas Gupta, regional chairman (north), Export Promotion Council of EOUs and SEZ, also said that the NSEZ has over 262 units engaged in export business. “Presently, they are passing through a very difficult phase and are scared about the shipments that are ready in their units as well as future business. Overseas buyers are cancelling their orders and there is a lot of fear among businessmen over heavy losses that they might face if the shipments are not sent immediately. Despite advisories from the MHA and the state government, the district administration has not allowed units to start operations even with less than 50% strength of 50,000. If the units don’t start operation soon, it may lead to mass unemployment soon,” he said.
LB Singhal, the NSEZ development commissioner, said that the district magistrate is the final authority to take any call in such pandemic situation. “If the entrepreneurs’ appeal doesn’t appear permissible in such pandemic situation, he may reject their request,” he said.
Singhal further said that sudden flow of workers, who are mostly from adjoining areas, may put adverse impact on Covid-19 situation in the district, which is improving now. “Only 13 manufacturing units of health products like masks, sanitisers and PPE kits have been permitted by the administration and they are operational,” he said.
Despite repeated attempts via the phone and text messages, district magistrate Suhas LY did not respond to comment on this issue.