In IIAs, state opens an exit for SEZs

The Integrated Industrial Area (IIA), in the new industrial policy of Maharashtra, provides a platform for withdrawal of 124 SEZs which have been struggling to take off, and creates a platform for releasing the land locked in various parts of the state.

The new industrial policy applicable from April 2013 to March 2018 introduces the concept of Integrated Industrial Areas (IIAs) in which 60 per cent of land will be reserved for industrial use, 10 per cent for commercial use and 30 per cent for residential purposes.

The government argued that unlike the SEZ policy which permitted 50 per cent reservation for industrial use and 50 per cent for non-industrial, the new policy has increased the reservation for industrial use and provides "incentives" like commercial and residential use to investors.

A window of six months from the time of the new industrial notification has been granted to companies to inform the state that they want to withdraw the SEZ and instead opt for the IIA.

"They have to take the decision about opting out of the SEZ. If they want to withdraw, they can adopt the IIA. We have put checks and balances to ensure that land is used for industrial purposes only," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told a press conference.

He said that land for residential use will be permitted only after the development of basic infrastructure like water and power connections, sewerage and road works.

"Maharashtra attracted maximum applications for SEZ because there was conducive atmosphere in the state for investment. 15,000 hectares of land have been blocked with SEZ. There is intentional mis-understanding created about the new policy," Chavan said.

Officials said that in projects formed through joint ventures or in which MIDC has 26 per cent equity, approval will have to be given by the MIDC board for scrapping of the SEZ. In SEZs where the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, has been used to acquire land, the decision will have to be approved by the state cabinet.

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