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VERBAL VOLLEYBALL

Friday, January 04, 2013
By A Special Correspondent

CM parries while Industries Minister flips when media asks tough questions 

Even as he praised the state’s new industrial policy as a path-breaking one, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had a tough time while explaining to the media that the policy was not for the benefit of the builders and developers, but was framed to promote the industrial sector. 

The policy was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday after prolonged discussions, and was announced yesterday at a press conference by the CM and the Industries Minister Narayan Rane. Both tried their level best to clarify that it was merely a housing policy. They said that the policy envisaged development of Integrated Industrial Area (IIA) wherein promoters of now de-notified Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would have to put 60 per cent, up from 50 per cent, in the SEZ policy for industrial use and thereafter 30 per cent for residential and 10 per cent for commercial purposes.”

During the discussion in the cabinet, NCP Ministers vehemently opposed the much-hyped new industrial policy, saying it was an opportunity for big developers to grab land at a throwaway price on the excuse of promoting industry. Senior NCP ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and R R Patil questioned its real objective and motive, while other NCP ministers and even some Congress ministers supported the three who kept arguing for almost four hours.

Against this backdrop, speaking to reporters, CM Chavan pointed out, “The SEZ promoters having private land in possession will have to approach the state government within six months of the notification of the new industrial policy to convert the land into IIA. The government will give its approval, but the private land owner will have to strictly put 60 per cent of the total land for industrial use, wherein he will have to create necessary infrastructure, do plotting and only after that, the particular promoter will be entitled to use the balance 30 per cent for residential and 10 percent for commercial use.”

He justified the government’s move saying that the new industrial policy is a path-breaking one and during the present conditions, when land acquisition faces major hurdles, a large parcel of already acquired land can be put for industrial use. He added that such a policy was required to face competition from states, especially in the western region. The CM, faced with a barrage of questions, literally struggled to come up with cogent replies, while Narayan Rane lost his cool while fielding queries of the reporters.

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