Developers misuse SEZ land

Andhra Pradesh government issues notices for delays

By Moyna
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageThe andhra pradesh government has issued notices to 54 developers of special economic zones (SEZs ) asking them to explain delays in setting up industrial units.

The notices follow public agitations and allegations by opposition parties that the land acquired for SEZs are being used for real estate development.

Andhra Pradesh notified 73 special economic zones (SEZs)—the highest in the country—between 2006 and 2008; of these 19 are functional. The developers were to start the projects within three years of government approval. M Bharath Bhushan, development consultant in Hyderabad, said most developers have no proper plans for the SEZs.

For instance, the Polepalli SEZ in Mehboobnagar district was approved as a pharmaceutical hub. But there is a textile unit and a training institute in its compound, said Bhusan. Sujati Surepalli, professor of sociology at the Karimnagar University, said, “When SEZs were proposed in the state, there was a rush to acquire land, both by the government and private developers. But only compound walls have been built in most project sites.” Surepalli has been voicing concerns of the Polepalli residents who have lost their land to the SEZs. Activists allege developers now plan to build residential colonies in large parts of the SEZs.

Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (APIIC), the nodal agency for SEZs in the state, refuted the claims.

“SEZs are sanctioned with a specific product or an industry in mind; all plans need to be approved before the construction of a unit begins. So there is no way the land can be misused,” said B R Meena, chairperson of APIIC. “Since most SEZs in Andhra Pradesh are government-owned, it would be easy to ensure that no exemption is given to industrialists,” he said.

Private SEZ developers are free to build anything. Asked about the recent notices, Meena said the move is just to monitor the progress of SEZs. “If developers fail to file responses within the specified time, the land will be taken back from them and given to another developer for the same product,” he said.

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