State contemplates product-specific SEZs
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The state government is all set to consider product-specific Special Economic Zones (SEZ) on unused lands of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Minister of State for Industries Sachin Ahir is keen to promote product-specific SEZs after Export Promotion Council for SEZs under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry demanded such initiatives.
With huge acres of land in possession of MIDC for projects which did not take off as Special Economic Zones, the council feels this could bring about employment rather than just keep land in possession. "It is a good proposal and it is definitely under consideration. Such initiatives will boost investments in the state and development of small enterprises on these lands will definitely bring in more employment,'' Ahir told Newsline on Monday.
The council had forwarded its demands to the Chief Minister besides putting up its demands before the industries department, pointing out that there were serious initiatives required on this front with there being a huge gap between the approved, notified and operational SEZs in the state.
With as many as 22 players recently backing out from the SEZ in the state — six from Pune —the council had asked the MIDC to propose product-specific SEZs for certain identified product groups.
Council vice-chairman P C Nambiar met the Chief Minister and the Industries Minister and conveyed that huge tracts of unused land with the MIDC could be utilised for this purpose as it would generate employment opportunities.
"For sectors such as IT, ITES and electronic hardware, bio-technology, non conventional energy, including solar energy equipment or gem and jewellery sector, the area which will be 10 hectares or more with minimum built up are spaces which will accommodate more SEZs in the area," said Nambiar.
The MIDC had acquired land some years ago for industrial estates and townships. This was not put to use and then later pushed for SEZs directly or through partnership with private sector. To supplement to the minimum area they acquired more land which got them into trouble as they took on irrigated land of farmers, pointed out the council's letter to the minister.
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