The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gems park status

Calcutta, July 29: Manikanchan, the gems and jewellery park in the city, is set to get the status of a special economic zone after a meeting in the capital tomorrow.

The park on five acres at Salt Lake was set to open mid-July but the delay in securing its special status from the Union commerce ministry lengthened the wait.

Managing director of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Gopal Krishna will meet the board of approval under the commerce ministry tomorrow to discuss the park’s status. The government expects the park would be formally declared special economic zone tomorrow itself.

The Centre did not inform the state about any particular objection on the special zone policy for Manikanchan but it had “reminded” the government that a general policy that would be applicable for all existing and upcoming special economic zones in the state had to be formulated.

Recently, representatives from the Union ministry had discussed with officers of the department of commerce and industry in the state the possibility of “using” the policy for Manikanchan as the general special economic zone policy in the state.

Some of the commitments the state government has to make for a special economic zone include guarantee that the proposed area is free from environment restrictions, and has adequate supply of water and electricity. The government also has to provide full exemption from electricity duty and a single-point clearance to those doing business from the zone.

Now, there are eight special economic zones — at Santa Cruz, Kochi, Kandla, Surat, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Falta and Noida. The Centre has given approval to 18 others. Salt Lake and Kulpi in Bengal have the Centre’s approval but are waiting for a formal clearance to the state government’s policy for the special zones.

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