New Industrial Act fails to set SEZ conditionshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/new-industrial-act-fails-to-set-sez-conditions/

New Industrial Act fails to set SEZ conditions

Opposition says policy favours private players in realty business

The state legislature passed a new Industrial Act Wednesday despite opposition members voicing serious concern over special economic zones (SEZs) policy which they said favoured private players in the realty business.

The opposition questioned non-inclusion of the condition that unless 60 per cent of land acquired for an SEZ was developed for industries,development of the remaining for residential and commercial purposes would not be allowed.

Industries minister Narayan Rane argued,“The condition may not be there in Maharashtra Industrial Act but it was part of the original policy to promote SEZs. The government will ensure its implementation.”

However,the government failed to explain how.

BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis said,“In the absence of stringent norms,there is every possibility private players will develop 40 per cent (of SEZ) land for residential and commercial purposes,and exit.

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“If there are no provisions in the Act,it paves the way for the private sector to exploit rules to its advantage. The industrial policy was delayed for two years because the government wanted to reform SEZs. However,several aspects in SEZs remain undefined,indicating it (the delay) was aimed at protecting interests of a handful of private players.”

“How can government justify real estate development on fertile land acquired from farmers at throwaway prices?” said Sena,BJP and MNS members.

Rane defended,“The land available following scrapping of SEZs does not exceed 9,600 hectares. Moreover,there is an apex court ruling that says land once acquired need not be returned to its original holder who has already got its price. If necessary,it can be handed over to the government.”

Following protests in Raigad district,Reliance decided not to go ahead with an SEZ prospect. The company has already invested in another SEZ in Gujarat,which is likely to attract an investment of Rs 75,000 crore.

Rane wondered,“Shouldn’t we feel sorry that Maharashtra has lost an opportunity and Gujarat has gained? The opposition is ignoring the overall industrial policy and focusing on SEZs.”