The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal to unveil China-style SEZ

New Delhi, Nov. 17: Bengal will be the first state to create a special economic zone (SEZ) in the country based on the Chinese model for promoting exports.

Union commerce and industry minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate Manikanchan, the country's first greenfield special economic zone for gems and jewellery, at Salt Lake in Calcutta tomorrow.

A countrywide list of 17 new special economic zones has been approved by the Centre, but not much groundwork has been done till now. The delay in implementing tax sops in an incentive-driven export sector and the existing labour laws have also acted as impediments.

The commerce ministry expects the five-acre special economic zone at Salt Lake to contribute exports to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore and generate employment for about 14,000 people once it becomes fully operational. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 31.44 crore.

The special economic zone has been promoted by WBIDC Manikanchan Ltd, a special purpose vehicle promoted by West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) and I-WIN, a joint venture company in which ICICI has a 76 per cent stake and WBIDC holds the remaining 24 per cent.

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