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Fresh check on SEZ plans- Union Commerce Ministry will ask developers to provide land details

Published by MAC on 2007-04-09

Fresh check on SEZ plans- Union Commerce Ministry will ask developers to provide land details

Siddhartha, Times News Network

9th April 2007

New Delhi: Nearly 490 SEZs, which do not have land in their possession, may have to wait for a few more weeks before they get a green signal from the govt.

With land acquisition by states banned after Feb 10, 2006, the commerce ministry is going to prepare a questionnaire for SEZ developers and only after the queries are answered will the cases be taken up by the board of approvals (BoA), a senior ministry official said.

The questionnaire will seek details on the land that is proposed to be acquired: the cropping pattern, the date of acquisition, the price that is being paid to those being displaced, whether the developer has clear land deeds, and more importantly who has acquired the land - whether it is the developer or the state govt.

According to the reworked land acquisition norms, state govt can no longer acquire land from farmers and then transfer it to SEZ developers. While officials said most of the land that is being transferred to developers has either been acquired directly by them or was acquired by the state industrial development corporations (SIDCs) prior to the notification of the SEZ rules, the govt was sending out questionnaires to be doubly sure of the land ourchase. There are, however, some SEZs where the govt has acquired land for the developer and those proposals will require large-scale reworking.

Besides, officials said, it was difficult to establish that the land had been compulsorily acquired by the govt since the developer and the state usually submitted a "consensual agreement" when they submitted their applications.

The information which has been submitted by the developer of approvals suggested that most land, that is now being used for developing SEZs, has been acquired by private players and the SIDCs at least half-a-decade ago.

SO far, 162 proposals have been approved in-principle by the BoA and most of them are awaiting a formal clearance for want of land acquisition. There are another 325-odd applications which were pending to be taken up for first-stage nod or cases which were deferred by the BoA earlier.

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