Restrictions on SEZ approvals lifted, 83 proposals cleared

Restrictions on SEZ approvals lifted, 83 proposals cleared

Thursday, 05 April 2007, 05:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Notwithstanding violent protests against some Special Economic Zones (SEZ) projects, the government on Thursday lifted restrictions on approving new SEZs and cleared 83 pending proposals.

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM), which met to clear the SEZ proposals that were on hold, also put an end to compulsory land acquisition by state governments and limited the size of SEZs to 5,000 hectares.

This limitation to size is expected to hamper the business plans of some of the big companies like Reliance Industries that has already set up huge SEZs near Mumbai and in Haryana.

The EGoM, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also said the processing area in SEZs will be increased to 50 percent.

"The decision will be applicable to all SEZs including those which have already been notified," Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting.

Some SEZs, especially in Nandigram of West Bengal, have seen violent protests from the affected people who are angry with land acquisition.

Kamal Nath said one member from every displaced family would be given a job in the project, adding that a Relief and Rehabilitation Policy in this regard would be finalized soon.

The government has so far received a total of 234 SEZ proposals with formal approvals, of which 63 have been notified and 83 were cleared Thursday for notification.
Source: IANS
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