Government puts SEZs on notice

New Delhi, Jan 20 | Updated: Jan 21 2007, 07:34am hrs
Alarmed by over 80 cases where developers of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have not operationalised their zones after obtaining final approval, the government on Saturday said it would soon make it mandatory for them to get the zones notified in six months of getting final clearance of the Board of Approvals (BoA). This was announced by commerce secretary G K Pillai. If developers fail to meet the deadline, their clearances will be cancelled, he added.

He said only 62 SEZs have been notified so far, though ideally by now about 150 SEZs should have got done so. This means in the remaining 80-odd cases, although about six months have lapsed since the final approval was given by the BoA, they have not returned to us for getting their projects notified, he added.

The interactive session the Export Promotion Council for EoUs and SEZs and government had with SEZ developers and units was to get inputs for amending the rules. In some good news for co-developers and sub-contractors, Pillai said the change in rules would also get them tax concessions.

He added the commerce ministry had asked the States to amend their laws so that the single window clearance system, envisaged for SEZs, could be functional in the real sense.

Pillai said the controversial issue of land acquisition for SEZs and compensation for the displaced families are likely to be settled during the empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) meeting on Monday.

The eGoM, which is meeting after a five-month gap, would also take a decision on whether to give approval solely to those proposals that have already acquired land. At the eGoM meeting in August 2006, the cap of 150 on number of SEZs, was lifted. But the eGoM had decided to take a re-look at the situation in the next five months or when 75 SEZs become operational, whichever was earlier.