Mamata scraps SEZ policy

We have to keep promises made in our manifesto: Mamata

May 24, 2012 02:51 am | Updated July 11, 2016 08:10 pm IST - KOLKATA

The Mamata Banerjee government on Wednesday announced scrapping of the policy on Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said the decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Industry, Infrastructure and Employment. The meeting was attended by Power Minister Manish Gupta, Labour Minister Purnendu Bose and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.

The issue, which had come to the fore again with regard to the recent investment proposal of Infosys in West Bengal, had raised the hackles of the Chief Minister, who said last month that her party was opposed to SEZs. She had said that while Infosys was welcome to the State, a SEZ unit was not. She, however, indicated that the Centre was being asked whether similar concessions could be extended to an IT project.

“We have made certain promises in our manifesto and we cannot go against it,” Ms. Banerjee had said.

Ever since the violent land agitation at Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district where a chemical hub and an SEZ were proposed to be set up, the Trinamool Congress had developed a touch-me-not attitude towards SEZs.

Alternative

Mr. Chatterjee said the government had sent an alternative proposal in this respect. “We are in touch with Infosys…we want them to invest in the State and we are taking necessary steps in this regard,” he told reporters.

Allotment to Infosys

He announced that the government had allotted 15 acres to ITC Infotech for setting up a unit at Rajarhat on the city's north-eastern fringes. “They had asked for land,” he said, adding talks had already been held with two IT hardware companies from Taiwan and they might set up a unit each in Bolpur in Birbhum district and Kalyani in Nadia district.

The State government had finalised its IT policy and this would be placed before the Cabinet committee within 15 days, he said.

JV for tea

Mr. Chatterjee also announced the committee's decision to dilute the government's equity stake in five sick tea gardens owned by the State-controlled West Bengal Tea Trading and Development Corporation (WBTTDC). These gardens are located in Darjeeling and Dooars and were draining the exchequer of Rs. 13 crore annually. “A joint venture model was being explored for reviving these gardens.”

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