Bills to help SEZ promotors in Parliament on Dec 7

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New Delhi, Dec 6: The UPA government will introduce in Parliament tomorrow two bills to amend the land acquisition policy and relief package for those whose land is to be acquired for industrial development in the country.

''The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2007 and the Bill to amend the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 have been finalised and are ready for introduction (in Parliament) tomorrow,'' Congress president Sonia Gandhi told the party's Parliamentary body today.

In the wake of the violence in Nandigram, the Union Commerce Ministry, followed by a ministerial panel, had imposed curbs on land acquisition by states for special economic zones(SEZs) in January.

Once the the new R&R policy and land acquisition laws are in place, these curbs could either be removed or substantially diluted to the relief of promotors of SEZs, Commerce ministry sources said.

The states would, however, have to ensure that developers acquired only single-crop or barren land.

Once the two Bills are passed by Parliament, the Commerce Ministry will take a fresh look on SEZs requiring more than 5,000 hectares of land, the cap fixed by the ministerial panel.

How the move to dilute or remove the ceiling on land acquisition would benefit promotors of large SEZs, however, remains to be seen.

If the government decides to lift the cap on size it could benefit Kandla Port Trust SEZ but may not help the Maha Mumbai zone.

The port trust is already in possession of 6,000 hectares of land but the Board of approval of the Commerce Ministry had asked it to limit its size to 5,000 hectares in line with the existing policy.

But once the new R&R policy and land acquisition laws are in place, the Kandla port trust's request for multi-product zone may get the nod of the ministerial panel.

This, however, may not happen in the case of Maha Mumbai SEZ, jointly promoted by Mukesh Ambani and his close associate Anand Jain, because the promotors have been able to acquire only around 1,000 hectares of land.

Real estate major DLF could also become a beneficiary as and when the new policy and laws are passed by Parliament, the sources added.


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