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Govt gets 38.4L sqm SEZ land back from promoters


Date: 14-06-2019
Subject: Govt gets 38.4L sqm SEZ land back from promoters
Panaji: Five Special Economic Zone (SEZ) promoters have returned 38.4 lakh sqm of prime industrial land  to Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) bringing the long pending issue to a partial close. However, insudtries  minister Vishwajit Rane has announced a freeze on the allotment of the SEZ  land till the new industrial policy is notified. 

For the land-starved state, reclaiming the SEZ land will come as a boost and this time Rane wants to ensure “judicious use” of the industrial land. “Land cannot be a trading commodity,” Rane told TOI. He said that he had written to the government seeking a freeze on land allotments by GIDC and has also sought an audit of the land that GIDC has in its possession and allotted recently. 

Rane, who was appointed industries minister last week, said his plans for development of industries and allotment of land will be taken forward after he discusses them with chief minister Pramod Sawant. 

Speaking to TOI, GIDC chairman Glen Ticlo confirmed that GIDC had got its land back. The SEZ land saga is more than a decade old when GIDC allotted land to seven promoters SEZ promoters. 

Five of those companies — K Raheja and Corporation, Peninsula Pharma Research Centre, Planetview Mercantile Co, Inox Mercantile Company, and Paradigm Logistics and Distribution — approached the Supreme Court after the high court in its 2010 judgment ruled against the land allotment. 

After years of deadlock, the state government arrived at an amicable settlement with the SEZ promoters and decided to refund the principal amount, along with interest. In exchange, the SEZ promoters would surrender their rights, if any, over the 38.4 lakh sqm of land, which was allotted to them more than ten years ago for setting up of SEZs. 

“Two SEZ promoters have already returned the land, while the remaining three have in-principle handed over the land to us. The process will be completed in the next three to four days,” Ticlo said. 

Unable to payback the Rs 256.6 crore to the five special economic zone (SEZ) promoters, GIDC had earlier proposed to auction 5 lakh sqm of land to repay the Rs 220 crore that it has borrowed from banks. According to GIDC’s proposal, it intended to allot 5 lakh sqm of land at Verna by auction on lease basis and also wants to auction 10% of the land, or 15,983 sqm, for commercial and service industry. 

Rane’s decision to put land allotment till the Industrial policy is released is likely to put GIDC in a fix. “There will be no allotment of land for some time now. You cannot just hand out land,” he said. 

The industries minister said that he has moved a note to the industries secretary seeking detailed land bank data which can be shared with the Goa Investment Promotion Board (IPB). The usage of Goa’s industrial land will be decided then be with the help of experts and will be spelled out in the industrial policy. 

GIDC had received payment of around Rs 110 crore from the SEZ promoters, which was deposited in a separate bank account. However, the interest accrued on the amount was spent by GIDC on development works forcing the corporation to turn to banks to pay the balance amount owed to the SEZ promoters. 

At a cabinet meeting in July, the Manohar Parrikar-government cleared the proposal to pay Rs 256.6 crore to the five SEZ promoters, which includes the interest payment of Rs 123.5 crore to the SEZ promoters. 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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