labels: economy - general
Developers turning SEZs into land scam, says Rahul Bajajnews
04 May 2007

Mumbai: Developers desperate to secure tax holidays are turning special economic zones (SEZs) into a big "land scam", Bajaj Auto chairman and Rajya Sabha member Rahul Bajaj said.

Big industrial houses acquiring land for SEZs are "almost turning it into a scam in the name of development," Bajaj told a seminar organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society.

For acquiring vast stretches of land for setting up SEZs, companies must interact directly with the farmers and buy them paying the right value, and not at subsidised rates, he said.

Alternatively, he said, development need not be near an existing city or at the cost of farmland, it would be more significant if the infrastructure creation takes place at a distance where opportunity to promote auxiliaries and settlements exists.

It would be unfair to compare SEZs in India with that of China where land is owned by the state and the benefits go directly to the people. In India, on the other hand, the developer gets all the benefits, he said.

Rajya Sabha members P C Alexender and Sharad Joshi - Founder of Farmers'' Union Shetkari Sangathan - followed Bajaj in voicing their sentiments.

While Alexander said SEZs are defying the initial social objective of providing small and medium entrepreneurs a growth opportunity, Joshi echoed another view saying that farmers, who are unable to repay their debts, are giving up agriculture in return for a better life that an SEZ promises.

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Developers turning SEZs into land scam, says Rahul Bajaj