CM defends industrial policy

'NCP misunderstood' Housing to overcome 'slumisation'?

CM Prithviraj Chavan sought to deflect criticism over the new industrial policy that reserves 40 per cent of land in proposed integrated industrial areas (IIAs) for housing, when he said here Friday the provision was mainly to overcome the problem of "slumisation" of erstwhile industrial areas that did not have residential infrastructure for employees.

"We aim to create walk-to-work industrial infrastructure with human beings at the centre," he told the media after laying foundation of two 660-MW units of NTPC at Mouda near here.

"What has happened till now is industrial areas have virtually turned slums with no housing and complimentary infrastructure such as schools and markets. This (policy) that brings the kind of industrial infrastructure seen in developed countries is a paradigm shift," Chavan said.

A main focal area of the new industrial policy is conversion of defunct SEZs into IIAs.

"SEZs had 50 per cent processing and 50 per cent non-processing zones. We have increased the processing or industrial part to 60 per cent, which will boost industry," CM said.

He called the NCP criticism that it was actually a housing policy borne out of "misunderstanding". "Strict rules will be laid down to ensure things go according to plan."

Asked who will develop the housing infrastructure, CM said, "It is not yet decided if it could be given to private parities or MIDC will develop it or it could be a public-private partnership. But we may not permit private companies to develop townships since they won't be interested in it without profit consideration.

"What's also pathbreaking about the new policy is the fact that we will return through tax rebates the entire initial investment made by units coming up in IIAs."

Chavan cited examples of Andhra Pradesh and Punjab where governments gave industries land for free.

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