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`SEZ Act may allow agri land acquisition for real estate'

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Will cause large-scale displacement of farmers: CPI(M)


KARATSPEAK: Mr Prakash Karat, CPI (M) General Secretary, addressing industrialists at a meeting organised by the FICCI eastern region council in Kolkata on Thursday. — A. Roy Chowdhury

Kolkata , Sept. 14

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) feels that the SEZ Act may allow acquisition of agricultural land for real estate development causing large-scale displacement of farmers in the name of industry and other social ramifications.

The party politburo has discussed the issue in detail in its meeting held in Kolkata on Wednesday and has decided to seek a change in the Act to ensure use of a minimum of 50 per cent of the land for industrial purposes against the existing SEZ Act allowing the use of up to 75 per cent of land for non-industrial or real estate purposes. The CPI (M) will also consult other political parties on the issue.

`Uncomfortable with some rules'

"We are not comfortable with certain aspects of the Act and its rules and regulations," the CPI (M) General Secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, said here on Thursday. He was addressing an interactive session "Agenda for inclusive growth" organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. "When the Bill was brought in the Parliament, we were only concerned about labour issues and did not pay much attention to the nitty-gritty of the rules and regulations," Mr Karat said admitting his party's failure in pointing out the alleged loopholes in time.

Many SEZ approvals

However, now that a large number of SEZ applications have received in-principle approval, the issue has attracted our attention, he said.

Interestingly, the changes demanded are in line with the SEZ development policy followed by West Bengal. The State has approved two SEZs stipulating use of 50 per cent of land for industry, 25 per cent for creation of infrastructure and the rest for real estate development.

Earlier, talking on regional divide, Mr Karat said that most of the SEZs were proposed in industrially developed States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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