Commerce ministry to SEZs: Show progress,or lose approval

The ministry has taken a tough stance on SEZs where in-principle approval was given and no development has happened since then.

Written by Shruti Srivastava | New Delhi | Published: September 3, 2013 12:41 am

The commerce ministry has asked developers of special economic zones (SEZs) to show progress after getting the in-principle approval,or be prepared for cancellation.

The ministry has taken a tough stance on SEZs where in-principle approval was given and no development has happened since then.

An official told The Indian Express that letters to 35 SEZs have been sent asking them to progress towards formal approval. To get formal approval,a developer would have to acquire land,after which the SEZ is notified and can move towards operationalisation.

The in-principle approval is valid for one year and can be extended on request. A formal approval is valid for three years within which the developers have to set up units and start operations. “Many of them are squatting on to large tracts of land,in some cases,by states as well,” the official said.

According to government data,there are 49 SEZs having in-principle approval from the ministry’s Board of Approval.

Among them are,the Reliance Haryana SEZ in Gurgaon and Jhajjar,Gitanjali Gems Ltd SEZ in Nashik,Aurangabad and other places in Maharashtra,Trac Technologies India Ltd in Tamil Nadu,DLF Ltd at Dankuni Township in West Bengal. Of these,only five have approval for land below 100 hectares while rest are all above it. Formal approvals have been granted to 576 developers while 386 have been notified and of which only 173 are operational.

“We want to weed out non-serious players. We have asked them to acquire land or share the plans with us. We also plan to send letters to developers who have acquired land and have been formally approved but have not started operations,” the official said. The deadline is September 30.

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