J-K SEZs in trouble, Centre says no to relaxing land norm

18 March 2008
The Indian Express
ISHFAQ NASEEM

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir Government’s proposal to set up two special economic zones in the state has hit a road block with the Centre rejecting its request to modify its policy on land requirement for the same. According to officials, the Union Industries and Commerce Ministry rejected the state Government’s appeal to relax land requirement norms for SEZs and allow it to set up one SEZ each in Srinagar and Jammu on an area of less than 20,000 kanals. Sources said another hitch was that the state Government wanted to create SEZs for multiple products, which is against the current policy of a zone for single products only. State Industries Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said they had been unable to acquire more land for the SEZs as this required huge amounts of money, and the Centre wouldn’t provide the same. SEZs can help attract investments to the state as these promise better infrastructure for setting up industries and offer incentives like duty-free import of goods, 100 per cent tax exemption on export income and exemption from sales tax. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has demanded that the entire Valley be declared a SEZ.