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Asia's first SEZ to go wi-fi

March 09, 2007 12:00 IST

Asia's first Special Economic Zone, the Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ), will go completely wi-fi in the next few months.

Authorities have allocated budget estimated in tune to Rs 15 lakh (Rs 1.5 million) for the project, which was announced at the 42nd anniversary of KASEZ on March 7.

While speaking to Business Standard, Upendra Vasishth, Joint Development Commissioner, KASEZ explaining the benefits of KASEZ going completely Wi-Fi said, "By and large this network would help in a hassle-free text communication and affiliated data services. Majority of enterprises allocated in KASEZ have to adhere to the documenting procedural code of conduct by filing monthly returns, annual returns among others. The proposed network would help adhere to such procedural requirements, as an intranet platform for such interaction will be made functional through the Wi-Fi network."

Presently, they follow the manual filing system by and large. But the network would emphasise on partial paperless concept, except the mandatory details to be filed on documents as stipulated by concerned agencies, said Vasishth.

Since February 10, 2006, SEZ Act & Rules came into force and along with the other existing free trade zones functional in the nation, KASEZ, formerly known as Kandla Free Trade Zone (KAFTZ) was also baptised.

Presently out of three SEZs functional in Gujarat at Kandla, Surat and Sachin. Of the three SEZ Kandla and Surat SEZs are multi-product SEZ, whereas the one functional at Sachin is uni-product SEZ engaged in manufacturing of apparels and textiles. Presently Development Commissioner, KASEZ is in charge of all three SEZs in Gujarat.

Speaking on the expansion plans of KASEZ, Vasishth said, "Original area of 700 acres is fully saturated and additional 300 acres is being added, making KASEZ a 1,000 acre SEZ, which makes KASEZ one of the largest functional SEZ presently across the country."

As soon as the SEZ notification for the additional area is issued by the Department of Commerce, the new area will be allotted, said Vasishth.

On the existing strength and future prospects in terms of investments and export turnover of KASEZ, Vasishth said, "Presently, there are 166 units working in zone, with the total investments to the tune of Rs 255 crore (Rs 2.55 billion), with Rs 26.40 crore (Rs 264 million) of Foreign Direct Investment from countries including Germany, United Kingdoms, Netherlands, United States of America, United Arab Emirates among others. Exports this year are in tune of Rs 1,336 crore (Rs 13.36 billion) as against exports of Rs 1,101 crore (Rs 11.01 billion) last year, registering a 43.55 per cent growth over the previous year."

There are over 46 industrial approvals for setting up units with investment projections of Rs 424 crore (Rs 4.24 billion) and annual exports potential of Rs 1,600 crore (Rs 16 billion), of which 14 approved units are in the advanced stages of setting up units with investment potential of Rs 308 crore (Rs 3.08 billion) and export potential of about Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion), claimed Vasishth.

Products manufactured and exported from KASEZ includes cosmetics, toiletry preparations, other bodycare products, pharmaceutical drugs, readymade garments, engineering goods, electrical goods, processed food, auto ancillaries among others, generating employment of 15,000 presently.

With the proposed expansion, an additional 2,000 jobs would be generated at KASEZ, said Vasishth.

BS Reporter in Mumbai/ Rajkot