Congress recommends scrapping of SEZs to end controversy

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Panaji, Dec 29 (UNI) Taking cue from the observations of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on development of the state, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) today recommended scrapping of all the Special Economic Zones in the present form.

Announcing this decision, in presence of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, GPCC president Francisco Sardinha, told mediapersons that the meeting also urged government not to acquire any land for SEZs in future but only for important public utilities such as industrial complexes, which requires limited land.

The GPCC, which had studied the white paper presented by the government on the SEZ controversy and stiff opposition by several political and non-political groups that had even issued ultimatum to the tourists to quit Goa, urged the government to ''denotify'' all the SEZs with immediate effect.

The party had decided against the SEZs as they required large chunk of land and other resources, which were scarce in smaller states like Goa. No land will be left to locals if huge tracts were acquired and earmarked for SEZs, they noted.

Mr Sardinha said the party totally endorsed the view of Prime Minister, who said here during his two-day visit that the main thrust of Goa should be on tourism, health and education sectors to boost its economy.

Smller states like Himachal Pradesh and North-Eastern states did not have any SEZs but could attract industries with lot of incentives. The SEZs are suitable for bigger states, he said.

Goa had notified three SEZs out of seven approved but landed in controversy with the public opposing them even as Mr Kamat said he would announce the government decision on January 2 whether Goa should have them or not.

In bigger states like Andhra Pradesh, 48 SEZs had been approved and 66 notified followed by 36 and 12 in Gujarat, 39 and 19 in Karnataka, 89 and 24 in Maharashtra and 16 and four respectively in West Bengal.

A foodpark need not have huge land earmarked as it could be accommodated in an industrial estate, Mr Sardinha said.

The GPCC had urged the government to be very ''careful'' in future while acquiring land for new projects, keepng in mind the sentiments of Goans, he added.

UNI

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