SC asks Haryana govt to file status report on SEZ

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 24 2014, 09:03am hrs
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Haryana government to file the latest status report on Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Haryana SEZ, for which 1,383 acre of land in Gurgaon was earmarked.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam directed the government to give details of how much land has been utilised so far, after noting that the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation hadnt even filed its reply to the PIL filed by Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, who had sought quashing of the SEZ laws, both of the Centre and the states, on the ground that these had promoted only land mafias and not growth and revenue.

Bishnoi had also challenged the transfer of 1383.68 acre to Reliance Haryana SEZ, alleging that the land was part of a green belt and could not be used for any other purpose.

The order came after senior counsel Amarender Saran apprised the court that Reliance had withdrawn from the project, and the 1,383 acre for the proposed SEZ had been returned to the government.

Bishnois senior counsel Nidhesh Gupta argued that the central government itself had admitted that the duty sops offered to the industrial units in these zones had resulted in revenue loss of R1,75,000 crore during 2005-10 and the loss on this count must have gone up manifold since then.

Seeking to strike down the SEZ laws and direct the government to return the acquired land to the farmers hit hard by these legal provisions, he further argued that both the 2005 SEZ Acts of the Centre and Haryana were in conflict with the regulations of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRB). After taking over land rights from Haryana, UP and Rajasthan in respect of the areas near Delhi, NCRPB was allocating even agriculture land for setting up SEZs, he contended.

While the Centre had given in-principle approval for the SEZ in June 2006 and it was notified in November 2007, the Haryana government had allocated 1383.68 acre for the project and picked up 30% stake in the Reliance Haryana SEZ. The allotment was made from about 12,000 acre acquired by the state government in Gurgaon in 2003. Reliance, however, offered to return the land in January 2012, and it was de-notified in June last year.