SEZs needed to tackle unemployment in Goa: industry lobby

April 8th, 2009 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, April 8 (IANS) The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Wednesday said the state needed at least two to three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to offset rising unemployment, even as the state government has reiterated it does not need any SEZ.
GCCI president Nitin Kuncolienkar said the state government had absolutely no plans for the 250,000 qualified youngsters, who would be a part of the employment stream in the coming decade.

“These are figures from the Economic Survey of Goa. Does the government have any plan at all to handle this? I don’t think any more government jobs can be created. SEZ could have been the right answer,” Kuncolienkar said.

He explained that while the state government had blundered in allotting 15 SEZs in this tiny coastal state, setting up of two of three SEZ would have been extremely beneficial.

“Two or three small, decent-sized SEZ spread over one or two lakh sq mts catering to specific environmentally friendly sectors like information technology would have created significant employment,” he said.

“With no SEZ altogether, Goa would have to pay the price in the coming years, with rising unemployment,” he added.

The GCCI president was also critical of the increasing number of civil protests against any developmental initiative, which he claimed was dithering investors from setting shop in Goa.

“The government must not succumb to such pressures. We must look at moving forward, despite these hurdles.”

The setting up of more than a dozen SEZs in the state had created a furore, with the opposition and various civil society groups taking to the streets alleging they were only a buzzword for land-grabbing.

The state government in 2008 scrapped 12 out of the 15 SEZ projects. The promoters of the remaining three notified SEZs, namely Meditab Specialities Private Ltd (123.2 hectares), Peninsula Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd (20.36 hectares) and K. Raheja Corp. Pvt. Ltd. (106 hectares) have also approached the Bombay High Court for relief.

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