: Government should
"revisit" its Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act
"comprehensively" and put a ban on transfer of common property and
agricultural land for its implementation, a high-level panel has recommended in
State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms has noted that
concerns of tribals and farmers remained "totally unattended" under
the Act as there was no cost-benefit analysis for such projects and also due to
the absence of an upper limit fixed for land acquisition.
The report of the committee, which was set up by the Rural Development Ministry
in 2007, was submitted through the
ministry to the National Land Reforms Council, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources in the ministry said.
noted that the status of "deemed foreign territory" to SEZs stands to
undermine the institutions set up under (Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled
Areas) Act, 1996 as also the rights of the individual citizens.
SEZ have been given the status of industrial townships and the state
governments would declare the SEZs as industrial township areas to function as
self-governing, autonomous municipal bodies under the Act, the committee noted.
"Once a SEZ is declared as an industrial township area, it will cease to
be under the jurisdiction of any other local body, like municipal corporation
and gram panchayat. Moreover the SEZ developer and units would also be exempted
from taxes levied by the local bodies because of its self-contained local body,"
First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 17:05