Nagpur: Maharashtra`s new industrial policy comes with a "human face" as it seeks to improve the living standards of workers residing around industrial estates, Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan has said.
He rejected criticism that the policy was pro-realtors, but maintained the government was open to changes in it if need arises.
The policy, unveiled early this week, introduced the concept of Integrated Industrial Areas (IIAs). This provision allows developers of denotified SEZ projects to utilise 40 per cent of the land in their possession for residential and commercial purposes. As much as 27,000 hectares will be available for IIAs under the new scheme.
However, the government can`t do anything if developers back out of a special economic zone (SEZ) despite new provisions, Chavan told reporters here last night.
The policy has a "human face" and aims to improve the living style and standards of industrial workers with walk-to- work concept, Chavan said.
"So far we only talked about job creation, which was just a number. Workers continue to live in sub-human conditions in the slums around industrial estates as nobody bothered about facilities for them.
"In a paradigm shift, the new policy will encourage creation of standard social infrastructure along with industrial estates. It will help in improving the lifestyle of workers as well middle-level management," he said.
Chavan said the social infrastructure included all types of urban amenities. It can be anything from a club house to a crematorium - that can be used by workers and others residing in the vicinity of industrial estates.
Chavan said finer details of the policy are still
being worked out and special development control rules will be framed in the days to come to implement it.
The Chief Minister defended the IIA concept, saying the move will help in saving huge tracts of land purchased for SEZs from lying idle.
The developers will get a change to convert part of the cancelled SEZs into residential townships. A developer with 100 acres in possession can build a township, he said.
IIAs will ensure that at least 60 per cent of the acquired land is used for setting up industries. Even otherwise SEZ developers were allowed to use half of their land for commercial purposes, Chavan said.
Claiming that the policy will create job opportunities for about 20 lakh youths and attract Rs 5 lakh crore of investments, Chavan said the scheme gives special emphasis on growth of micro, small and medium enterprises.
Despite competition from other states, Maharashtra has retained top position in terms of attracting industrial investment, he claimed.