Maharashtra govt cancels 4 SEZs over land acquisition

The Maharashtra government on Monday cancelled four major Special Economic Zones (SEZs) proposed by large business houses Mahindra, Videocon and India Bulls after having failed to acquire land for the multi-purpose projects. Earlier, stiff opposition to land acquisition by locals in Raigad had forced the scrapping of SEZ by Reliance.

The decision was taken in the board meeting of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) on Monday as land acquisition hurdles proved to be the major hindrance in starting the projects. These projects were proposed between 2007 and 2008 and were to be completed as joint ventures with MIDC.

"There was stiff opposition to the land acquisition for these projects and they were not working out. They have been cancelled today in the meeting," said Minister for Industries Narayan Rane.

The four projects cancelled by the Board are: Multipurpose project by India Bulls spread across 1,936 hectares in Raigad district, Mahindra project spread across 3,000 hectare in Maval taluka in Pune and two projects by Videocon in Aurangabad and Pune. The project in Aurangabad was also a multi-purpose project spread across 2,763 hectare and the other in Wagholi in Pune over 1,000 hectares.

Since the land was not acquired, the companies had not submitted detailed plans for the projects which would estimate the cost of the project, investments and possible jobs.

"The companies either through act of omission or commission indicated that the proposals were not working out. SEZs were not in existence as no land was acquired, they had only been notified. Today's decision ensures that the SEZ do not exist even on paper," said a state government official.

Maharashtra's track record with SEZ is pretty dismal with only 64 of the 103 formally approved SEZs and 16 with in-principle approved SEZ being notified.

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