|Reason to smile: Benny Santoso, Salim Group executive director
Calcutta/Delhi, Oct. 6: Bengal today received approval for setting up as many as eight special economic zones (SEZs), two of which are projects promoted by the Indonesia-based Salim Group.
The board of approvals of the Union commerce ministry cleared the proposals in principle, which means they have to go through another round before being implemented.
Of the others, three are from the Videocon group and one each from Salarpuria Properties, SREI and SEZ Infrastructure Developers.
“It’s been a good meeting. We got what we wanted,” said commerce and industry secretary Sabyasachi Sen.
Sen was in Delhi to plead the case of the two proposals of the Salim Group. One is a chemical hub on a 4,000-acre plot at Nandigram in West Midnapore.
New Calcutta International Development Project — the company floated by the Salim Group — will put up another, multi-product SEZ on 5,000 acres at Haldia.
Videocon Realty and Infrastructure Ltd received clearance for a 144-acre electronic and IT hardware SEZ at Suryapur in North 24-Parganas; a 1,000-acre multi-product SEZ in Howrah; and another multi-product SEZ at Kharagpur.
“The final approvals will come once the formal process of land acquisition is over at these sites,” the commerce secretary explained.
Officials said in all 24 proposals had been received by the state commerce and industries department, of which 15 were shortlisted and forwarded to the Centre.
“The commerce ministry told us that for proposals relating to IT and biotech, formal approvals would be granted as soon as land is acquired for such projects. These sectors need not apply for ‘in-principle approval’,” Sen added.
The sixth proposal to be okayed today was Salarpuria Properties’ electronics SEZ in North 24-Parganas between the Barrackpore–Barasat Road and Kalyani Expressway on the outskirts of Calcutta.
Bengal SREI Infrastructure received clearance for its auto parts SEZ at Kharagpur.
SEZ Infrastructure’s proposal envisages setting up an engineering SEZ off NH6.
Another proposal — of Ramky Infrastructure Ltd for a pharmaceuticals, biotech and chemicals SEZ — will also be shortly cleared once some supplementary information is provided, Sen said.
Union commerce secretary G.K. Pillai clarified that under the new SEZ norms, not more than 10 per cent of the total area can be double-crop land.
Pillai said this 10 per cent allowance would be given only where it was essential to include an additional contiguous area without which the SEZ would not be possible.