Kerala's SEZ policy applicable to SmartCity also: Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 26 (UNI) Kerala Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M Vijayakumar told the state Assembly today that newly formulated Special Economic Zone policy by the state government would be applicable to the Kochi SmartCity project also.

Replying to questions by Mr Varkala Kahar (Cong), Mr Vijayakumar, deputising for Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem, said existing laws were sufficient to check new SEZs coming up in the state.

He warned that no real estate mafias would be allowed to carry out real estate business under the cover of SEZs.

Mr Vijayakumar claimed that the new policy governing the SEZs would protect the rights of the employees and all Central Labour Acts would be applicable to institutions being set up in the SEZs.

Stating that the government would protect the state's interests before recommending applications for the new SEZs, he said though the government had received 21 applications only ten were forwarded to the Centre for approval.

Though the Central Acts insisted that 50 per cent of the land in the SEZs should be used for industries and the remaining for other purposes, the state government had made it that 70 per cent of the land should be used for industrial purpose.

Pointing out Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan's earlier statement that the new policy would not be applicable to the SmartCity project, the Opposition sought his clarification on the issue following Mr Vijayakumar's statement.

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