ASSOCHAM asks CM for smaller high-end SEZs in Goa

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Panaji, Mar 7 (UNI) The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) today urged Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to consider small, non-polluting but high-end Special Economic Zones to attract huge investments and generate employment opportunities.

''Imposing a blanket ban on SEZs sends wrong signals from Goa which will not benefit the tourist state in due course. The state can go in for at least three non-polluting and smaller SEZs for nano and biotechnologies, food processing and solar energy besides electronics on private lands,'' Chambers president Venugopal N Dhoot and secretary general D S Rawat said.

They told a press conference that they had already requested the Chief Minister to reconsider his decision on the scrapping of SEZs, and allow smaller ones.

The Chambers has always opposed the setting up of SEZs on government land. It should be left between the land buyer and seller and the seller should be a stake holder in the SEZs by way of stock option. The government should at any cost not acquire land for SEZs, they said.

The three proposed SEZs could attract Rs 50,000 crore additional investment besides providing jobs to 20,000 youths over the next three years.

Opening of technology driven knowledge hubs in the ideal climate of Goa will go a long way for development of Goa along with tourism, they said.

The Chamber has already approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a 6-point formula following the SEZ controversy across the country. The formula is in favour of the land seller becoming a partner in the SEZ in the form of giving jobs or shares.

The state has also the potential to become an education hub so that Goan youth need not go abroad for seeking higher studies, they said.

Information Technology, wine related industries, adventure tourism, sea food processing units and coconut industries could also be areas in which Goa can have an edge, in addition to bio-marine technology, electronic assemby, and entertainment centric activities, they added.

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