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U.P. moves to stall Reliance SEZ project

Friday 25 May 2007, by KHAN*Atiq

It "violates" Centre’s norms

Decision taken at Cabinet meeting It is based on high-power panel report

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Government will send a proposal to the Centre that permission granted to Reliance Industries Limited for setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Noida be withheld. It is taking the plea that the proposed SEZ flouts the norms set by the Centre. This decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Mayawati, here on Thursday.

Briefing newspersons, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said a high-power panel found that contrary to the Centre’s directives, land allotted for the Reliance project was not contiguous. A road was passing through two plots.

For an SEZ, land had to be contiguous and enclosed on all sides, with only one exit and one entry point for goods, Mr. Singh said.

The government move was based on the report of the three-member committee. Comprising the Principal Secretaries of the Finance, Law and Industries departments, the panel was also asked to identify problems and shortcomings in the proposals to set up SEZs exclusively for information technology and hi-tech cities.

Another panel soon

Mr. Singh said a separate committee under the Industrial Development Commissioner would be constituted within two weeks for framing land acquisition rules. The government felt that acquisition details, including compensation, should be finalised between investors and farmers. The panel would study case by case the proposals for hi-tech cities (of the previous government) and approval would be given on merit.

The Reliance project was approved under the New Special Economic Zone Policy framed by the Mulayam Singh Government in 2006. It opened up avenues for public and private participation in the development of SEZs, and provided for financial benefits including tax exemption to investors.

Around 1,200 acres was allotted to the Reliance Group headed by Anil Ambani, who was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council.

See online : The Hindu

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