Government clears West Bengal steel special economic zone

September 22nd, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Amid uncertainty over the fate of global automobiles major Tata Motors’ super-cheap Nano car project at Singur in West Bengal, the central government Monday allowed steel major JSW Steel Ltd to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) for steel at Salboni in the state’s West Midnapur district.An official press communiqué from the ministry of commerce and industry Monday said the Board of Approval (BOA) of the SEZs granted approval to 18 proposals for setting up exclusive industrial hubs called special economic zones, and in-principle permission to ten such projects.

“The BOA approved the proposal of JSW Bengal Steel Ltd. to set up the steel SEZ in West Bengal,” said a senior ministry official. JSW Bengal Steel Ltd. is a subsidiary of steel major JSW Steel Ltd.

The meeting of BOA considered 35 proposals for setting up of SEZs, including six proposals for conversion of in-principle approvals into formal approvals.

The other proposals approved at the BOA meeting include aluminium SEZ by Anrak Aluminium Ltd. in Andhra Pradesh, biotechnology sector SEZ in Tamil Nadu by Frontier Lifeline Pvt. Ltd., and IT and information technology enabled services SEZ in Punjab by Shipra Estate Ltd.

To be developed at an estimated cost of Rs.350 billion, JSW Bengal Steel’s Salboni integrated steel plant is likely to be operational by 2012.

An official estimate says India’s SEZs will have investment of Rs.2 trillion and provide direct employment to over 800,000 people by 2009.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said here Sep 16 that he had told the developers of SEZs and export oriented units that exports from SEZs would cross Rs.1.25 trillion in the current fiscal, registering a growth of around 100 percent.

In India, there are now around 480 formally approved SEZs including 18 approved Monday, out of which 222 have already been notified, and over 40 of them are fully operational.

An official estimate says that 336,235 people were employed - directly or indirectly - in SEZs as on March 2008, while direct employment created in notified SEZs stood at 97,993 as on March 31, 2008.

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