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Corporate Jan 7, 2013

Land issues: Posco seeks more time for Odisha SEZ

South Korean steel major Posco has sought more time from the Commerce Ministry for its over Rs 53,000 crore multi-product SEZ in Odisha, as it is yet to get adequate land from the state government.

An inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA), chaired by the Commerce Secretary S R Rao will consider the request from Posco's subsidiary Posco India Pvt Ltd on January 18, the commerce ministry said.

Due to protests against land acquisition by the local villagers in Orissa, Posco has not been able to get the required land for development

"Posco India Pvt Ltd a multi-product SEZ, over an area of 1620.49 hectares in Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa, which was granted (letter of approval) LoA on 26 October, 2006, has applied for extension of their SEZ project for the 7th year," it said.

The company's application was deferred in its November 23, 2012 meeting due to the absence of state government's views on the issue.

"The state government has now recommended the proposal with a condition that the establishment of SEZ will be subject to necessary clearance under different laws as applicable. The proposal is accordingly placed before BoA for its consideration," it added.

Due to protests against land acquisition by the local villagers in Orissa, Posco has not been able to get the required land for development of its tax-free zone and the issue has been pending for several years.

Besides Posco, 8 SEZ developers including those of TCS and Parsvnath SEZ Ltd, have asked for extension of time to execute their projects.

Two developers, including Gujarat Hydrocarbons and Power SEZ have approached the government for surrendering their projects.

Further, Mundra Port SEZ Utilities has also requested for a co-developer in the free trade ware housing zone in Gujarat.

The zone was being developed by Adani Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd.

Exports from SEZs grew by 36 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2.39 lakh crore during the April-September 2012.

So far, 385 SEZs have been notified out of which 160 are operational.

However, these tax-free enclaves have lost sheen after imposition of certain levies and proposal to take away tax incentives.

The Commerce Ministry is planning to announce some incentives to revive investors' interest for SEZs.

PTI


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