The drive to set up special economic zones has the makings of a real estate scam. The government has cleared 150 proposals, both for single product and multi-product SEZs, in less than a year. The avalanche of proposals for setting up SEZs, as well as the speed with which the government cleared them, gives cause for concern. Big business houses such as Reliance, Adani and DLF will set up SEZs over 20,000-35,000 acres. For the Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone, CIDCO is handing over the Mukesh Ambani group 2000 hectares of land. The center’s rule states that in a minimum size of 1,000 hectares for multi-product SEZ, 25 per cent needs to be developed for production. The rest is open to use for housing, multiplexes, hospitals and so on. In the NMZES, the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Group is planning to make a Reliance City. For many it is still not clear what the rules framed for the SEZ rules are doing – promoting exports of goods and services or encouraging development of real estate. In the case of real estate, the beneficiaries manipulate the property market. With the state government going on a spree of allotting land for three SEZs in and around Navi Mumbai, experts of the industry say that it is very crucial that there role to be scrutinized. Transparency in the execution of SEZs in Navi Mumbai like the rest is impertinent, as it will have direct impact on the livelihoods of millions.
February 18, 2008
September 4, 2009