Centre asks Navi Mumbai SEZ, State govt to sort out all issues by August

The Centre has served an ultimatum to the Maharashtra government asking it to sort out “operational and regulatory’’ issues with Navi Mumbai SEZ — an entity promoted by Mukesh Ambani and his aide Anand Jain — by the end of next month failing which it will de-notify all eight SEZs being developed by it. “The decision was taken by the Board of Approval for SEZs in its meeting last week as most members felt that the matter had been pending for too long,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The eight SEZs, which now have their fate hanging by a thread, include an ambitious multi-product SEZ in Dronagiri, two multi-services SEZs in Kalamboli and Ulwe, a gems & jewellery SEZ at Ulwe and four IT/ITES SEZs at Kalamboli and Ulwe. Most of the SEZs were formally approved way back in 2007 and have received more than seven extensions.

“The developer has been claiming that although the SEZs are ready, they are not able to find any units mainly because the Maharashtra government has not enacted the State SEZ Act. It was asked way back in 2015 to settle with the State government if it would be getting the concessions it had sought, but there has been no movement on the matter,” the official said.

It was also pointed out to the BoA by the development commissioner that Navi Mumbai SEZs in Maharashtra were granted routine extensions even though the developer had not complied with the conditions attached to the approval. In its submission to the BoA, the Maharashtra government said that it had received applications from NMSEZ for further extension of approval for the eight SEZs (State approval is mandatory for BoA clearance), and it was in the process of resolving certain operational and regulatory issues with the developer. The BoA, which is the apex decision making body for SEZs headed by the Commerce Secretary and including senior officials from other Ministries including Finance and Law & Justice, is, however, not willing to wait much longer.

“In view of the fact that the issue has been pending since 2015, the Board, after deliberations, decided to allow the government of Maharashtra up to August 30 2017 to resolve the operational and regulatory issues with the developer and inform the Board of its decision….failing which the SEZs would automatically stand de-notified,” according to the minutes of the meeting. In a response to questions from BusinessLine sent to NMSEZ prior to the BoA meeting, a spokesperson said that the company and the State government remained committed to the project.

Courtesy: The Hindu Businessline