Task Force for RP-2021 joins Congress to scrap SEZs

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Panaji, Dec 30 (UNI) Coinciding with the recommendation of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee, the Task Force, constituted for drafting the Regional Plan-2021 today favoured scrapping of the Special Economic Zones(SEZs) which in its view is 'detrimental to the overall interests of Goa'.

''The intention of permitting SEZs, that is of industrialisation and consequent employment generation can be served without SEZs if incentives are extended to incoming industries,'' Task Force vice-chairman Charles Correa told mediapersons here.

With this, it is likely that the government may denotify the three already notified SEZ projects early next week without giving lever to the non-Congress-led anti-SEZ groups to intensify their agitation, and affect the seasonal tourist flow by issuing 'go back' directives to the tourists.

The required industrial development can be achieved if government focuses on providing excellent infrastructure in terms of roads, water and power to incoming industrial units, Mr Correa said in presence of other members of the Task Force including advisor to the government Edgar Ribeiro and Goa Bachao Abhiyan Convenor Oscar Rebello.

''If the proposed IT parks also fall within the preview of the SEZ and the process of permitting them is in conflict, the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India requires reflection of peoples will, the Task Force does not favour the parks,'' he said.

The Task Force had submitted the recommendations to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is also its chairman, yesterday. The Task Force works for amending the existing town and country planning laws for bringing out a comprehensive Regional Plan-2021, providing for all round development of the state.

The Task Force felt Goa will not have a substantial revenue benefit by means of direct and indirect taxes through the SEZs.

On the otherhand, the State will have to incur expenditure for huge infrastructure such as roads and other services for the SEZ.

At the sametime, it will be liable to provide services such as water and power within the SEZ in case the developer fails to do so, leaving an additional burden on the exchequer.

The employment benefits through the SEZs will not accrue largely to locals but lead to a large scale migration of people thereby increasing the pressure on land and other resources.

Moreover, allotment of huge chunks of land for product specific SEZs will deprive genuine needs of entrepreneurs and companies proposing to set up industrial units which are not product specific and not dependent on government incentives, the Task Force said.

The entire process of land allotment to SEZs also need to be seen in the light of government's role in land acquisition for government projects of 'public purpose' vis-a-vis private developers, it noted.

The landmass available in Goa constitute a mere 0.1 per cent of the country and such the smaller state cannot afford allotment of such huge chunks of land for SEZs.

UNI

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