Special Economic Zones
The government of India had first announced a comprehensive SEZ policy in April 2000 as part of its EXIM Policy. It was shortly followed by the Special Economic Zone Act in February 2006.
The act aimed to promote economic growth and development in the form of greater economic activity, promotion of investment, the creation of infrastructure, the growth of employment, and promotion of exports.
However, SEZs are a prime example of government land grabbing and over-reach of power. The country has witnessed several protests resisting land acquisition initiatives for SEZs.
There are more than 72,847 acres across the country that lies unused and vacant. SEZs promised cheap land prices and tax breaks. These easy incentives lead to land large tracts of land acquisition by private parties only to be abandoned later. The land is the most crucial part of the scheme - out of 1,12,768 acre of land notified in the country for SEZ purposes, operations commenced in only 70,396 acres (62.42%) of land. According to CAG, out of the 392 notified zones, only 152 has become operational. In various states, the Developers had not commenced investments and the land had been lying idle in their custody for as long as 7 years.
Several processing areas established under the SEZ have unutilized land parcels locked. One such instance is the case of Adani Ports. Out of the notified area of 16,000 acres, only 2,060 acres was utilized leaving 13,934 acres un-utilized.
Refer to the map and the table accompanying for more details of this wasted land.
|#||State||Area (acre)||Value (₹ crore)|
|Total||72,847 acre||₹ 1,47,401 crore|
Information pulled from publicly available data sources points out about 72, 847 acre of land parcels are lying vacant and unused across the country.
This is roughly equivalent to 55,187 football fields. . With a conservative price of Rs. 5,000 / sq. metre and an FSI of 1 the value of this wasted land is Rs. 1.47 lakh crore.
The policies set out for SEZs proved to uproot thousands of communities across the country, only to lead to land locking and wastage.