Positra promoters seek to set up separate SEZ in Maharashtra

Mumbai: The City and Industrial Development Corporation's (CIDCO) move to follow a bidding route to rope in strategic partners for its proposed special economic zone (SEZ) in Navi Mumbai has forced the promoters of the Gujarat-based Positra SEZ to moot a new proposal with the Maharashtra government to set up a separate SEZ in the state.

The Positra SEZ promoters have already initiated talks with Sicom and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for equity investments in the newly mooted SEZ project. Says CIDCO vice-chairman and managing director Anil Kumar Lakhina: “The promoters of the Positra SEZ had written to us showing their interest to participate with CIDCO in the Dronagiri SEZ.

“But we want to select our partners through an internationally competitive bidding process. We have already floated tenders inviting bid proposals and the bids will be opened in November 2002. The road shows to attract foreign direct investment will start by next week.“

Due to a delay in granting land clearance by the Gujarat government, the promoters of the Positra SEZ had decided to shift the Rs 6,000-crore project to Mumbai. The Positra promoters had explored two possibilities — either to join hands with CIDCO to develop the Dronagiri SEZ in Navi Mumbai or to set up a new SEZ of their own.

Sources close to the development say the Positra promoters want the new SEZ to be located near Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. The Maharashtra government is understood to have forwarded a proposal for an SEZ in the state to the central government.

As per the current plan, the promoters, Sea King Infrastructure, will hold a 50-per cent stake in the new project, while a 20-per cent stake will be offloaded to Sicom and MIDC each and the remaining 40 per cent will be offered to financial institutions. It is learnt that all the FIs which had picked up stakes in the Positra SEZ will support the promoters in the new proposed project, too.