'No more SEZ, first assess and disclose impact'
New Delhi, Apr 18: Seeking to debunk the perception that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were imperative for industrial growth, the UPA Government's ally Communist Party of India(CPI) today demanded a ban on sanction of any more such zones unless an assessment was made of their impact on the economy.
Moving a private Member's resolution on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, CPI secretary D Raja described those setting up SEZs as ''modern zamindaars', and asked the Government to explain the rationale of showering concessions on corporates for these zones and allowing them to make super profit at the cost of the common man's money.
''Assess what we have gained, what impact these zones had made on the economy before permitting more to come up,'' he said.
The CPI Member said in his view the experiences with SEZ were not encouraging, as massive chunks of fertile land had been grabbed from farmers debasing their life, and in return the industrial development promised had not been materialised as in quite a number of cases, a large part of land had been diverted to other purposes.
He said it was wrong to think that SEZs were essential for industrialisation. In 1956, the country adopted the Industrial Policy Resolution and since then a large number of heavy and light industries had been set up in successive five-year plans, he sought to point out.
Therefore, Mr Raja said, opposition to SEZs did not mean opposition to industrialisation.
In fact, he added, the Left had also supported the SEZ Act when it came and the Act itself was harmless, but it was in the framing of rules that undue concessions were given.
SEZs had become like a foreign territory where the corporates were free of all regulations and could do whatever they liked, he said.
Mr Raja demanded the Government come out with a response to the question asked in the House about the assessment of the impact of the SEZs.
Mr Raja's remarks remained inconclusive as the Chair announced adjournment of the House till Monday, but asked him to continue when the House reassembled.