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Rediff.com  » Business » Anil Ambani's SEZ caught in 'Maya'jaal

Anil Ambani's SEZ caught in 'Maya'jaal

May 25, 2007 03:18 IST

The Uttar Pradesh government has objected to a Special Economic Zone of the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) in which the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is a strategic partner.

At its second meeting held in Lucknow on Thursday, the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh Cabinet decided to refer the 1,200-acre SEZ proposal to New Delhi as it violated the contiguity norms laid down by it.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said that a road passed through the SEZ land bifurcating it into two. Singh said this was a violation of the Centre's guidelines for SEZs and the state government had decided to apprise the commerce ministry of the anomaly.

The SEZ, he added, would therefore have to be relocated to a contiguous plot of land.

Anil Ambani was known to be close to Mayawati's predecessor and bitter political rival, Mulayam Singh Yadav. He was also a member of the high-profile Uttar Pradesh Development Council led by Amar Singh, which was abolished soon after the Dalit leader came to power earlier this month.

Political observers said the SEZ was now caught in the crossfire between the two political camps. It is worth noting that Noida is a state government body.

However, a Union commerce ministry official said contiguity should not be an issue for the zone as the amended SEZ rules of 2006 give the Board of Approval the power to give the green signal to SEZs with contiguity problems, subject to conditions.

These include construction of concealed over-bridges and underpasses by the developer between the different areas of the zone, divided by public utilities like roads or railway lines.

"Till now, the commerce ministry has not received any communication from the Uttar Pradesh government," the official added.

On his part, Singh said that the state government, soon after taking over on May 13, had constituted a committee of secretaries to look into the various issues involving SEZs.
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