Goa minister goes against own government, supports SEZs

November 9th, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 9 (IANS) Months after the state government bowed to public pressure and decided to cancel the three sanctioned special economic zones (SEZ) in Goa, a senior cabinet minister Monday said he would “still welcome SEZ”.
Speaking to a local news channel, Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira came out openly against the Goa government’s stated policy, saying the SEZs would have worked wonders in the state.

“My stand has been open. I am in support of SEZ. I also believe that plots that have been allotted are for a good purpose. The industries that were to come up were clean and non-polluting,” Sequeira said.

“I still would welcome SEZ. You can ask me why. There is a massive unemployment issue here,” he added.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has repeatedly said his government had proposed to the central government that the three notified SEZ be cancelled because of “popular opposition”.

In June, Kamat had met union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and urged him to expedite the process of de-notifying the three notified SEZs in Goa, which were to have been set up by Meditab Specialities (over 123 hectares), Peninsula Pharma Research Centre (20.36 hectares) and K. Raheja Corp (106 hectares).

As a policy decision, the state government has already scrapped 12 other SEZ projects in Goa, which had been proposed but not notified.

A recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had said the state government had flouted regulations in handing over large tracts of land acquired for public purposes to private developers.

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