‘Goa government playing up to special economic zone developers’

October 6th, 2008 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Goa, Oct 6 (IANS) The Goa SEZ Virodhi Manch (SVM), a non-political body comprising various social groups and non-governmental organisations opposed to special economic zones (SEZ) in the state, has accused the state government of helping SEZ developers make a backdoor entry into Goa. SVM convenor Charles Fernandes in a press note issued Sunday said Chief Minister Digambar Kamat’s decision to meet SEZ developers at trade and commerce minister Kamal Nath’s behest could facilitate the re-entry of SEZ developers.

Fernandes was reacting to a press conference Sunday by Goa’s lone Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik, where he claimed that SEZ developers, at a meeting with Kamal Nath in Delhi, had insisted on being given another plot of land in Goa in lieu of the present SEZ holdings.

“There were three SEZ developers present. They ignored Mr Nath’s offer for a separate SEZ plot in any other state in India. They want land in Goa as compensation,” Naik told the media.

Naik further said Kamal Nath had then asked the chief minister to meet the three SEZ developers.

A public outcry following the allotment of 3,800,000 square metres of land to seven SEZ developers recently had forced the government to scrap the projects, a move which had met stout resistance from the central government.

The state government’s move to issue notice to SEZ developers to return the land allotted to them, has resulted in seven SEZ promoters - Meditabh Specialities, Cipla group, Peninsular Pharma Research, Paradigm Logistic and Distributors, Planetview Mercantile, Inox Mercentile, and Maxgrow - approach the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court in appeal.

SVM has already filed police complaints claiming that the process followed to hand over land to the SEZ developers was riddled with fraud.

“The SVM has also exposed the malafide intentions and actions of the government of Goa which is only paying lip service to the opposition of the Goans to the menace of SEZs,” Fernandes claimed, further demanding that the administration should not enter into any deal with any of the developers who have “committed illegal acts” to get their SEZs approved or notified.

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