Kamal Nath allays apprehensions about SEZs
New Delhi, Aug 23: The government today assured the Rajya Sabha that the existing legal provisions for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would not be allowed to become a tool for real estate developers and land mafia to seize the land of farmers and, in fact, would be used to boost exports and growth.
Replying to half an hour discussion in the House on the subject of SEZs, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath allayed widespread concerns of the members that land was being acquired from farmers at a throwaway price for establishing industries and SEZs.
The minister, however, said there was a provision in the April 2000 law which enabled acquisition of land for setting up industries. But utmost care would be taken that farmers were not given a raw deal nor land fell into the hands of the mafia.
He said sanctioning of SEZs was in the domain of the state governments, but the Centre would impress upon them the need to maintain fairplay.
Describing the SEZs as an ''instrument of incremental economic activity and a stimulus for investment'', he said the 28 existing SEZs, which were operational, generated exports worth Rs 22000 crore last year, besides creating direct employment fot 1.1 lakh people.
The minister said 927 industrial units had become operational so far in these 28 SEZs, having a total investment of Rs 2,000 crore.