JNPT's SEZ obtained green signal from Centre

News Posted - 2010-10-06, Last Updated - 2010-10-06

MUMBAI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led UPA government on Friday approved the Rs 3,000-crore proposal by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)for setting up port-based multiproduct special economic zone (SEZ) near Uran in Raigad district.

JNPT had submitted a comprehensive proposal for setting up port-based SEZ over six months ago. The board of approval (BoA), at its meeting on Friday, approved the project. It will be completed in a time bound period,'' a senior official said.

Most of the SEZs, not only in Maharashtra, but elsewhere in the country also have been stuck owing to refusal of the farmers to part with their lands. However, it will be smooth sailing for JNPT as the entire piece of land-277 hectares-is already in its possession. "JNPT owns nearly 2,500 hectares of land, of which, it has earmarked 277 hectares for the SEZ. We expect that there will be no hurdles in implementing the project,'' the official said.

According to the project report submitted by JNPT to BoA, the cost of land has been estimated at Rs 1,026 crore and the cost of construction at Rs 1,900 crore. JNPT expects exports worth Rs 5,500 crore per year. JNPT has estimated that the SEZ will create 35,000 direct jobs and generate indirect employment for 18,000. "Compared to most of the SEZs, JNPT SEZ will generate more employment,'' he said.

JNPT will mainly concentrate on multiple services, non-conventional energy products, electronic and telecommunication equipment, and light and heavy engineering goods. "JNPT is among the best ports in the country. It provides excellent scope for free trade warehousing zone. Once the project is implemented, we also have plans for its expansion,'' he said.

With more than 131 SEZs at various stages, Maharashtra has taken the lead in setting up these zones across the state. The SEZs will require 45,000 hectares of land, attracts an investment of Rs 1.35 lakh crore and generate 69 lakh jobs. "Our proposals are good, but most of the SEZs are unable to take off owing to refusal of the farmers to part with their lands. In the entire Konkan region, barring a few, no promoter has been able to acquire land. It is high time that the government comes out with a new policy on land acquisition for SEZs,'' he said.

A senior Congress minister said that as most of the SEZs are being set up in the Konkan region, the government should ask the promoters to shift to Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. "All promoters are keen on setting up SEZ in the coastal Konkan region. We should ask them to set up SEZs in backward areas,'' he said. Source: TOI 18/9/10