The Centre should consider endowing special economic zone status to industrial parks promoted by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation in the state, said Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Inaugurating the Maha-Mumbai Special Economic Zone on Saturday, Bhujbal said: "These MIDC parks are the result of the toil of entrepreneurs and exporters. They should not find their products becoming uncompetitive in the international market due to benefits accruing to SEZs. These MIDC parks should also be deemed SEZs such as the Seepz complex at Santacruz in Mumbai."
Maha-Mumbai is being promoted jointly by the Sea King Infrastructure, Videocon International Ltd, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Soma Enterprises, Hiranandani Construction Group, JTC (Singapore) and Sicom. Strategic business partners have also been invited to participate in its development.
Chief minister of Maharashtra Sushilkumar Shinde said that the Union government had also cleared the Nagpur air cargo hub project.
He said that there were no discrepancies in the permission granted to the privately promoted Maha-Mumbai. The SEZ is to be developed adjacent to the City and Industrial Development Corporation-promoted Navi Mumbai SEZ.
The Sea King-led consortium is among the shortlisted eight bidders for the Navi Mumbai project.
The chairman of Sea King group, Nikhil Gandhi, said: "In the eventuality of bagging the contract for the Navi Mumbai SEZ, we will synchronise the two projects. Even otherwise, the operations of the two SEZs could be fine-tuned through discussions between the promoters of the two, to ensure that there was no duplication while setting up the infrastructure for both the projects. Today is the age of acquisitions and mergers anyway."
Gandhi said: "It is only the problem of mindset. In India, we are used to thinking only of small SEZs. Consider this, the first phase of the Navi Mumbai SEZ constitutes only 7.5 per cent of the MMSEZ's first phase that involves an infusion of $1 billion spread over a four-year completion period. If you take the Shinzen SEZ in China (320 square km in size) or the Jebel Ali SEZ in Dubai (over 100 square km in size), the combined Navi Mumbai and Maha-Mumbai SEZs together are much smaller totalling 32 square km in size."
Maha-Mumbai is proposed to be spread across 2,500 hectare in phase I and across 10,000 hectare over the next decade. It proposes a total investment of $3 billion. The SEZ is sought to be developed as an integrated enclave comprising a central business district, which would be the commercial and service hub of the zone with an international financial service centre.
The industrial zone will include a biotech park, an information technology park, a micro electronic park, gems and jewellery park, textile/garment park and a food procession park. The SEZ will also house residential and recreational infrastructure including golf courses, a sea front and amusement parks.