Maharashtra axes four SEZs after local opposition

July 31st, 2012 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 31 (IANS) Stiff opposition from local communities and changed economic scenario in the country has resulted in axing four proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in different parts of Maharashtra, Industry Minister Narayan Rane said Monday.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), presided over by Rane.

Rane admitted that the SEZ were facing strong opposition from the local communities and farmers in all the areas and hence it was decided to scrap them.

The SEZs - two in Pune and one in Raigad and Aurangabad each - were among the 238 proposed in Maharashtra and were expected to boost development and employment opportunities by pumping in huge investments in the projects.

They were to be set up by mega-corporates like Videocon Realty & Infrastructure Ltd, Mahindra & Mahindra Group and IndiaBulls Infrastructure Ltd.

MIDC Chief Executive Officer B. Gagrani said that the SEZs were proposed as per central directivse and memorandum of understanding was signed with the private partners with MIDC acting as a facilitator.

“Signed in 2007-2008, the MoUs were valid for three years with an extension. Now, the companies are not interested in the projects, so the MoUs have been cancelled,” Gagrani told IANS.

He added that since not a single inch of land was acquired for these projects, there was no question of any potential losses by way of investments or employment opportunities.

While the IndiaBulls Infrastructure Ltd’s SEZ was planned on 1,936 hectares in Raigad, Mahindra & Mahindra SEZ was proposed on around 3,000 hectares in Maval area of Pune.

Videocon Realty & Infrastructure Ltd was planning a SEZ at Aurangabad and at Wagholi, Pune.

Rane added that locals, especially the farming community had been strongly opposed to these SEZs as many of these lands were under irrigation.

Now, the MIDC has adopted a policy whereby no irrigation land shall be acquired for industrial purposes, he said.

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