Centre scraps 8 SEZs in Goa

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New Delhi, Feb 26: Acceding to the demand of the Goa government, the Central government has scrapped eight Special Economic Zones (SEZs) proposals in Goa and issued notices to 12 developers in the state, asking why their zones should not be cancelled.

However, on three notified SEZs - Cipla's Meditab Specialities, Raheja's IT/ITeS SEZ and Peninsula Pharma's bio-tech SEZ, the inter-ministerial board of approval has decided to talk with the the state government which has been demanding that these be denotifed and also scrapped. The board, in a meeting held here yesterday, took the decisions following a strong anti-SEZ movement in Goa last year that had threatened the Digambar Kamat-led Congress government.

The Goa government, on December 31, 2007, had recommended that the Centre scrap all the zones in the state following widespread public protests.

Formally approved tax-free zones that face axing reportedly include Inox Mercantile Company's 48-hectare Biotech zone in Verna, Panchbhoomi Infrastructure Pvt Ltd's 18.5-hectare infotech zone in north Goa and a 48-hectare Infotech zone of Paradigm Logistics in Verna.

Commerce Secretary G K Pillai, who heads the board, said 12 formally approved zones are being sent showcause notices, while proposals under process will be treated as withdrawn.

Mr Pillai had earlier stated that notified zones could not be de-notified but Commerce Minister Kamal Nath subsequently said option of de-notification could be exercised under the SEZ Act, 2005, a Central legislation.

It, however, remains to be seen how the issue of compensation to SEZ developers, who have already pumped in money, is addressed by the government.

Cipla has reportedly already invested more than Rs 200 crore in building two units at the Meditab zone.


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