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Rediff.com  » Business » Maha seeks to wrest industrial advantage

Maha seeks to wrest industrial advantage

February 24, 2011 11:07 IST
Steel rollsBesides, the weekly 16-hour power shut-down for industrial consumers in 233 industrial estates will be brought down to 8 hours, and they will be provided electricity at concessional rates during the night by state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran).

This will benefit 4,217 high-tension industrial consumers, whose daily power requirement is 2,000 Mw.

Further, the state proposes to rework its package of incentives so that industrial projects come up in less developed or underdeveloped areas, instead of concentrating around Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nashik. The government plans to bring out a New Industrial Policy by April, after taking into consideration the views of all stakeholders.

The trigger for these initiatives is memoranda of understanding signed by the Gujarat government with various developers worth Rs 25 lakh crore (Rs 25 trillion) during recent 'Vibrant Gujarat' conclave and the denotification of 16,000 acre of land earmarked for the much debated MahaMumbai SEZ being developed by Mukesh Ambani and Anand Jain.

The denotification followed the failure by the project developers to acquire land within the stipulated time frame. Moreover, Maharashtra has received a nod from the board of approval for all 143 SEZs, of which 63 are notified and 24 are operational.

However, the progress of the remaining projects has been hampered by strong opposition from locals over land acquisition and a lack of clarity in the upcoming Direct Taxes Code.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, "The proposed New Industrial Policy will make the government's stand clear on land acquisition.

The government is of the view that new investments should come up in underdeveloped and less developed areas of the state. The government will be a facilitator during land acquisition for the project developer."

Chavan said 169 mega industrial projects with a total investment of Rs 1.45 lakh crore ($32 billion) are proposed in the state with the potential to create 215,000 new jobs.

Of the 169 projects, 78 are already in production, including those of Volkswagen, Hyundai, LG, CanPack, Rieter, Mahindra and Tata Fiat. Besides, 25 are under construction and 32 have land in possession.

The government has amended the mega project policy, whereby the investment limit has been increased to Rs 750 crore (Rs 7.5 billion) from the present Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) for new projects and expansion of existing ones in A & B talukas.

These units would be entitled to a slew of concessions in electricity duty and VAT.

In category C talukas, the investment limit has been increased to Rs 500 crore from Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion). These investment limits remain unchanged in D and D plus areas and regions where the human development index is low.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar admitted that land acquisition has been a grey area and that the government is keen to make the entire exercise industry- and investment-friendly.

He said the track record of industrial investors in availing the 2007 package of incentives was not up to the mark. Some investors simply took possession of land, but the progress has been very tardy.

Sanjay Jog in Mumbai
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