KARNATAKA

Govt. writes to Centre on SEZ in Mangalore

MANGALORE JAN. 3. The State Government has written to the Centre to initiate formation of the coastal Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mangalore.

G.Giridhar Prabhu, President of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Convenor of the Industries Committee of the Coastal Agenda Task Force (CATF), told The Hindu on Friday that the Minister for Large Industries, R.V.Deshpande, held a meeting with the CATF representatives in this regard on Thursday.

Mr. Prabhu, who thanked the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, A.K.Monnappa, and the Chairman of the CATF, N.Vinaya Hegde, said IDECK Ltd. had suggested three sites at Baikampady in Dakshina Kannada, Padubidri in Udupi District, and at Agsoor near Ankola in Uttara Kannada District.

The State Government had shown interest in giving "in principle" approval for the project to come up with the participation of the private sector.

The State Government would only play a facilitator. The Government was keen that the district administration and the KCCI identify the zone and develop it in association with the CATF.

Mr. Prabhu said it had now become mandatory for the Centre to ask States to have their own SEZ Act. He said the CATF had presented a copy of the SEZ Bill of Maharashtra to the minister, and he had assured the CATF that the State would extend "statutory backing" for forming the SEZ. However, the Coastal SEZ would be unique.

The coastal belt of Karnataka was known for its vast pool of trained human resource and would have enormous potential for SEZ in trade and services area.

The OECD countries and the NIC countries had developed enormously in services and this could be replicated in Mangalore when such SEZs were created here, the approach paper on SEZ said.

The SEZ in Mangalore would mainly cater to trade and service. However, it would also have a manufacturing area, keeping in view the regional chemical industries.

Non-polluting units could be allowed in SEZ.

The KCCI approach paper said the labour-intensive units such as garments, toys, paper conversion, repacking, and specialised packaging of commodities, value addition in agricultural and horticultural crops, spices, rubber, arecanut, and coconut-based products should be given preference in the SEZ. Units manufacturing all specialised inputs to Indian cooking such as masalas, ready made preparations, dried vegetables, fine ingredients, and inputs, maize, sugar, rice, and rice products, wheat products, potatoes, and onions, vegetables and other dried and processed food could be considered for SEZ. The approach paper cited the target markets of the SEZ as West Asia, East and Western Africa, Asia Pacific, and Russia.

The State Government, in its letter, said the CSEZ would be ideal for a port-based facility as emphasised in the Medium Term Export Strategy 2002-07.

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry had identified the NMPT as a strategic location for a free port in India in the implementation model study conducted by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi.

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