labels: industry - general, economy - general, reliance industries
RIL''s Maha Mumbai SEZ project gets an year''s extensionnews
08 August 2007

Mumbai: The government has extended the in-principle approval to Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries'' Maha Mumbai SEZ by one year but asked the promoters to cut the size of the zone to 5,000 hectares in line with the new rules.

The commerce ministry has also asked RIL to ensure that the land acquisition for the project is done with the consent of the owners and that no compulsory acquisition is done by the state government.

"The issue was not required to be brought to the board of approval and was processed by the commerce ministry," commerce secretary G K Pillai said.

As per the earlier in-principle clearance, which expired this week, the SEZ was expected to be set up on 10,000 hectares. But the government has since amended the SEZ rules in April this year to reduce the size of zones following widespread protests against forced land acquisitions in the country.

Meanwhile, residents, including farmers, in the area where RIL''s SEZ is supposed to come up have officially registered their opposition to land acquisition. A number of landowners have informed the government that they do not want to part with their land and should not be made to do so.

Officials in the commerce ministry say that the government had already decided that objection from even one land owner from the affected area would be enough to stall an SEZ project. Since the new rules notified recently by the government specify that land required for SEZs has to be surrendered willingly, developers will have to take some remedial action soon to save the situation.

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RIL''s Maha Mumbai SEZ project gets an year''s extension