Bowing to strong public and political opposition, the Goa government has agreed to review its policy on special economic zones. Having already scrapped 12 SEZs, the state is moving to de-notify three more such enclaves, chief minister Digambar Kamat told the state assembly on Tuesday.
"The government of Goa has communicated its decision to central government to do away with SEZs in the present form, and accordingly the state government would review its SEZ policy," Kamat said, adding that the government had directed the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to take back land alloted to SEZs.
Kamat said his government has communicated its decision to do away with the SEZs in the present form to the union ministry of commerce and industry, and has requested to de-notify the three remaining SEZs. The developers affected would be Meditab Specialities, Peninsula Pharma Research Centre, and K Raheja.
The chief minister said the lease for these SEZs still had three years for their lease to expire, before which it would be difficult to take action. However, GIDC would automatically take back the land after that period. He said his government was pursuing the matter with the union government.
The GIDC had issued show cause notices to the SEZ promoters asking them to discontinue work on the land, and warning that the lease deeds would be revoked and the land reverted back to GIDC by refunding the premium, interest and lease rent paid. However, the show cause notice has been stayed by the high court, Kamat said.
The land allotment to these SEZs was controversial from the start, with NGOs questioning the environmental and social aspects, and the political opposition wondering how the land was granted even before the proposals were officially approved.