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Commerce to GoM: clear 41 ‘cleared’ SEZs. roll back freeze

Posted by Ramoo on February 1, 2007

Shishir Gupta
SEZ: Infosys, Wipro, Bajaj, Satyam and HCL among those in waiting: letter to Pranab

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 29: Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Satyam Computers , HCL Technologies and Bajaj Auto Limited are among the 41 approved developers who are knocking on the doors of the government for a rollback of the GoM’s decision withholding their SEZ notification. Among them, they have acquired nearly 5,000 hectares and Rs 40,000 crore in investment is sitting idle.

The Commerce Ministry has today written to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee — who heads the Empowered Group of Ministers — seeking directions on issuance of notification in these 41 cases spread in nine states, including Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.

On January 22, the GoM decided on no new SEZ approvals, including notifications, until it took a final view.

The Commerce Ministry has reminded Mukherjee that of the 236 valid approvals, 63 SEZs have already been notified. “In another 41 cases, the developers have already submitted land details and other documents as required under the provisions of the SEZ Act 2005 and SEZ Rules, 2006, for issue of notification. The development commissioners have carried out necessary inspections in these cases. These papers are under process and draft notifications are being finalized in consultation with the Law Ministry.”

The letter goes on to add that because of the GoM’s directions, the Commerce Ministry cannot issue notifications until the orders are reversed.

“The developers have expressed concerns over this decision as they have already taken steps for implementation of their projects. Number of these have already placed orders, finalized contractors in anticipation of the notification. All benefits granted under the SEZ Act become available only from the date of notifications,” the Commerce Ministry has said.

Citing the case of Brandix India Apparel City, a company promoted by a Sri Lankan promoter with 100% FDI, the Commerce Ministry has informed the GoM that this company has already recruited and trained 400 rural women from nearby villages and is ready to commence operation on receipt of notification. The Ministry points out that 1000 acres has already been leased from the Andhra Pradesh Industrial and Investment Corporation in 2006.

shishir.gupta@expressindia.com

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