Mangalore special economic zone project may be delayed

Staff Correspondent

Special purpose vehicle not constituted; political uncertainty causing concern

Promises On December 29, Minister P.G.R. Sindhia said a special purpose vehicle will be set up by January 15Prior to panchayat elections, Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh said the foundation stone for ONGC's Rs. 23,000-crore petrochemical project will be laid in January 2006

MANGALORE: The political uncertainty in the State capital has cast its shadow on the efforts to implement the Mangalore special economic zone (SEZ) project, especially constitution of special purpose vehicle, (SPV).

Minister for Finance and Industries P.G.R. Sindhia stated at a press conference in Mangalore on December 29, 2005, that the Government will constitute a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement the SEZ project by January 15, 2006. But it has not happened.

Earlier, Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, who addressed a rally ahead of December 19 elections to the panchayat bodies here, stated that the foundation stone for the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) Rs. 23,000-crore petrochemical project in Mangalore will be laid in January 2006. This is unlikely to happen this month.

Mr. Sindhia admitted at the press conference that there was delay in starting the SEZ project even though the State Government, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the ONGC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2004 to constitute the SEZ.

The SPV will look into the implementation aspects of the SEZ. The Minister said that he held talks with ONGC officials last month with regard to the constitution of SPV.

The KCCI has been urging the Government to constitute the SPV at the earliest since it will be the first step for the SEZ project to take off.

People in the industrial circle here are keenly watching the political developments in Bangalore - if the Congress loses power by this weekend it may have certain implications on the SEZ project.

Their fear stems from the fact that a senior Union Cabinet Minister last year raised objections to the ONGC investing such a huge amount in Mangalore alone.

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