State asks Centre to grant full SEZ status
Oct 07, 2012
Source : The Times Of India

KOCHI: The state government has written to the Union finance ministry to expedite SmartCity's SEZ status as the board of approval is yet to give its consent.

Due to this delay, Tecom, the promoter of SmartCity, is unable to go ahead with the project master plan.

Sources said the ministry's objection has resulted in this delay and since the state cannot delay this project further, the government had sent a letter asking the Union finance ministry to grant a single SEZ status for the entire SmartCity land immediately.

The board of approval had given SEZ status to 136 acres out of the total 246 acres. The remaining part was denied SEZ status as the land is bifurcated by river Kadambrayar. Recently, the Centre had agreed to waive the norm that the SEZ status can't be given for the land bifurcated by natural boundaries like rivers after the state submitted a request.

Then the Union finance ministry opposed the move. Meanwhile, building constructions are expected to begin by November. Tecom had already sought a sanction from the state for starting construction work even before getting the SEZ status. The first IT building will be built on the 136 acres that got SEZ status. Once full SEZ status is granted, work will begin according to the master plan. As per the plan, equal parts of land have been set apart for processing and non-processing zones. More buildings will be in the non-processing land where social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, restaurants and shopping malls would be built. Kochi: In the wake continued delay on the part of SEZ board of approval for granting SEZ status for the entire SmartCity land in Kochi, the state government has written to the Union Finance ministry demanding it to expedite the process. Due to delay in getting the SEZ status, TECOM, the promoters of SmartCity, Kochi is unable to bring out the master plan of the project. According to sources with the state government, it can't afford to any more delay for starting the prestigious project. So, the state government has send detail letter to the Union Finance ministry asking it to clear the way for single SEZ status for the entire SmartCity land. a It is the objection from the Union Finance ministry that stand in the way of getting SEZ status for the entire land earmarked for the project.

The SEZ board of approval had given SEZ status to 136 acres of land. Of the total 246 acres, the remaining land was not given SEZ status as the land is bifurcated by river Kadambrayar running through the project land. Recently, the Union Government had agreed to the call by the state government to waive the norm that the SEZ status can't be given for the land bifurcated by natural boundaries like rivers. But the Union Finance ministry threw a spanner in the wheel of the project by opposing the move by the Government to grant single SEZ status for the entire 246 acres of land earmarked for the project. Meanwhile, construction of the first IT building is expected to be started by November.

The TECOM had sought sanction from the state government for starting the construction of the first IT building even before getting the SEZ status for the entire land. It is in the 136 acres for which SEZ status has already been given that first IT building will be coming up. Prior to the construction of the land, developing of the land has been completed. Once the SEZ is granted for the entire land, master plan of the land will be released immediately. It is learnt that the master plan sets apart equal land for processing and non-processing zones. More buildings will be in the non-processing land where social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, restaurants and shopping malls would be arranged.

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