The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Size hiccup in Haldia

Calcutta, July 12: The proposed mega chemical hub at Haldia will have to be much larger than the 25,000 acres envisaged by the state government if it has to get the status of a petroleum, chemicals and petrochemical investment region (PCPIR) from the Centre.

The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government will now have to identify 62,500 acres, according to the draft policy prepared by the Prime Minister's Office.

'According to the draft policy, a master plan for the 62,500 acres will have to be drawn up, out of which around 25,000 acres will be reserved for processing units alone. We are allowed to have the existing villages, settlements and even Haldia town within the 62,500-acre boundary,' said commerce and industry secretary Sabyasachi Sen.

However, at a later stage, the government will have to develop more infrastructure like better roads across the area. For this, it will have to acquire more land for the hub, which will stretch from the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge and include the entire Haldia township.

The state will apply to the department of petrochemicals in Delhi for PCPIR status within a month, Sen said. It will also have to submit a master plan of the area, including details of the proposed effluent treatment facilities and other components, to the Centre.

But before that, the state will have to identify the anchor developer and anchor investor for Haldia.

'Now that the area has become much larger, we have to look for anchor developers other than the Salim group. Even the area outside the 25,000-acre processing zone will have to be developed,' Sen said.

The industry secretary added that several private players are keen to participate in the development of Haldia.

'We have a proposal from Ramky Infrastructure Company, which has offered to develop a small SEZ (special economic zone) at Haldia. An SEZ has to be of a minimum size of 2,500 acres. We can have many SEZs within the 62,500-acre boundary,' he added.

The Salim group has been in talks with the government over developing a 25,000-acre SEZ in Haldia, and an agreement is scheduled to be signed by July 30.

Officials from the Indonesian company met Sen today and handed over the draft project report for the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge, the Barasat-Raichak Road and the proposed SEZ at Haldia.

Indian Oil Corporation, too, 'has promised us their support and will probably be an anchor investor. Haldia Petrochemicals Limited is going to be another one,' Sen said.

The Bengal government's proposal along with the master plan of the hub will have to be cleared by a high-power committee chaired by the secretary to the Prime Minister. It will then be placed before the cabinet committee for economic affairs for approval.

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