TS: Hyderabad Point Indu SEZ Project

Promoters of M/s Indu Projects Ltd and M/s Lepakshi Knowledge Hub Private Ltd, who procured 10,000 acres of land (8,844 acres in Anantapur and 250 acres in Shamshabad) at cheap rates from the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government for an IT SEZ and a knowledge hub, is still lying unused, the CBI said in its status report. These details were part of the report the CBI gave to the Supreme Court while opposing the bail plea of Nimmagadda Prasad, an accused in the Vanpic case, who was also found on the board of Indu Projects which was awarded many projects/contracts by the government of Andhra Pradesh between 2004 and 2009. The status report also narrated the way Indu got a 250 acre IT SEZ at Samshabad, using which the promoter of this firm availed Rs 175 crore bank loan without creating any infrastructure or jobs in the proposed SEZ. Citing the contents of the status report, the bench said: “It is also highlighted that files were processed despite serious objections by the finance department about the financial implications of the proposed concessions proposed on the state exchequer, company’s financial standing; lack of credibility in terms of their past experience of the fledging company incorporated in July, 2008.” While allotting 250 acres of prime land at Shamshabad, near new International Airport of Hyderabad, several exemptions such as stamp duty and registration expenses, subsidized power, all external infrastructures up to the boundary of SEZ, tax exemptions/holiday were provided under ICT Policy and SEZ Act, 2005. Land worth about Rs 1 crore per acre was given at a price of Rs 20 lakh...

AP: Ananthpur Integrated Textile Park Project

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to cancel the allotment of 3,580 hectare (ha) to Lepakshi Knowledge Hub Limited (LKHL) in Gorantla and Chilamattur mandals of Anantapur district for developing a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), the nodal agency in charge of allotting land, to start reclaiming the land. The decision on October 27 comes in the wake of LKHL’s failure to fulfill the terms in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The agreement with the company was signed in February 2009 during the chief ministership of late Congress leader Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The promoters of the knowledge hub, Indu Projects, a Hyderabad-based real estate group, proposed to develop aerospace and defence cluster, agri-food processing zone, integrated textile parks, health village, media and entertainment city, and educational and research institutions for special sectors, all at one place. The company had also announced that it would develop aircraft testing and training facilities along with a 3.4-km long runway to support the upcoming aerospace industry in the park in collaboration with foreign companies. According to the MoU, the company and the units were to invest between Rs 8,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore with a promise to create jobs for 150,000 people in a span of five to 10 years. APIIC had made available the entire land, mostly acquired from local farmers, to the company for this purpose. But LKHL did not set up a single industry. All the infrastructure development remained only on paper. Instead, it mortgaged around 1,780 ha to get Rs 790 crore bank...

MH: Bombay HC halts work at Mulund-Thane SEZ

The Bombay High Court has put a spanner in the land reclamation work currently on at the Mulund-Thane Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project site in the ecologically sensitive coastal area in northeastern Mumbai. It has asked the project proponent, Zeus Infrastructure, to stop dumping solid waste in the area immediately. The company was using construction debris and municipal garbage to reclaim land. The court order came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Mumbai-based non-profit Vanashakti. The SEZ for information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) is being developed on the site which earlier had salt pans. Earlier, a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the non-profit had revealed that the Union environment ministry overturned its own decision to give approval to the SEZ in the ecologically sensitive coastal area. Dumping of the solid waste to reclaim land is illegal. This was clear from the response of the environment ministry counsel in the court who said that environmental clearance would stand cancelled if the proponent is found to have dumped municipal solid waste at the site. The ministry had initially rejected the Rs 3,000 crore SEZ in 2006 because the project site spread over 54.23 hectares (ha) was on land classified as Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) I. CRZ rules are applicable up to 500 metres (m) on the landward side of the high tide line and up to 100 m from high tide line along water bodies like estuaries that are influenced by tides. CRZ-I refers to those areas in the regulated zone which are ecologically sensitive and have special geomorphological features like mangroves, marshes...

MH: Nagpur cargo hub stuck in slow lane

In April 2007, J.N. Patel, a Bombay high court judge, struck a deal with Mumbai-based Hogwood Commercial Developers, the real estate arm of Provogue India Ltd, to sell 44 acres of land owned by his family on the outskirts of Nagpur for Rs crore. The deal was reported widely, signalling Nagpur’s transformation from a sleepy provincial town to a city alive with commercial promise. More land deals in and around the zero-mile city, so-called because it’s located in the geographic centre of the subcontinental land mass, took place in quick succession, anticipating that the proposed multinodal international cargo hub at Nagpur (Mihan) would transform the economic landscape of the Vidarbha region, infamous for farmers’ suicides. But delays in the implementation of the project seem to have put a halt to the rise in property prices. Sprawling across 4,354 ha (hectares), Mihan envisages an international passenger and cargo hub, a multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) and various industries that will seek to take advantage of commerce that is likely to be generated by a transport centre. Ahead of the last general elections in 2009, three political leaders sought to take credit for bringing the project to the orange city. They were then civil aviation minister Praful Patel, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Nitin Gadkari and Union minister and member of Parliament (MP) from Nagpur, Vilas Muttemwar, of the Congress party. The project is being developed by Mihan India Pvt. Ltd (Mihan-IPL), a joint venture of the government of India-owned Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Maharashtra government-owned Maharashtra Airport Development Co. Ltd...

TS: Godrej to convert Hyderabad IT SEZ into housing project

The Godrej Group’s realty arm, Godrej Properties (GPL), plans to convert its information technology (IT) special economic zone (SEZ) project in Hyderabad into a residential one, a top company official said. GPL had bought over 34 acres in Hyderabad in 2006 to set up an SEZ, keeping in view the then boom in the IT sector.“SEZs are no more lucrative following the slowdown in the IT sector and some government regulations. We are looking at converting our Hyderabad SEZ project into a residential one, most likely catering to the mid-market segment. We will not focus on SEZs as of now,” Godrej Chairman Adi Godrej told reporters after the company’s AGM here today. The company earlier had plans to build a six-million-sq-ft IT park or, alternatively, an IT SEZ in Hyderabad. Currently, the company is developing two IT parks in Kolkata’s Salt Lake city, one of which will be completed by this year-end. GPL’s profit for the first quarter in 2010-11 has increased seven times to Rs 22 crore on the back of impressive bookings in its residential projects in Ahmedabad and Kolkata, Godrej said. The third phase of the Ahmedabad project will start in the next...

TS: Koheda IT SEZ Project

The judgment of the Land Reforms Tibunal of Ranga Reddy district directing the Sanghi group of industries to surrender about 2,000 acres of land in its possession in excess of the land ceiling norms is likely to derail the proposed S a n g h i multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Sanghi group, whose head is Congress Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Girish Sanghi, have proposed to set up the SEZ near Koheda village in the jurisdiction of Hayatnagar mandal. The Board of Approvals under the commerce ministry has given its approval, but the state government has written to the Centre to withhold the formal clearance and notification on the plea that several hundred acres being claimed by the group was in fact government land. Now, the ruling of the Ranga Reddy land tribunal has come as a further setback for the SEZ as well. In their proposal, the Sanghis have shown around 12 units of the group as contributing about 2937.718 acres (49.48 holdings) required for the multi-product SEZ. These are the same units which have attracted the land ceiling laws as per Friday’s judgment. These units include KMS constructions, Sanghi polysters, Sanghi zipners, Sanghi polyzip, Sanghi spinners among others. As per the judgment of the tribunal, the Sanghis have to surrender around 2,000 acres from all these units. The option for the group now is to either contest the judgement or surrender the land to the government. Either way, the prospect of the SEZ seeing the light of day is highly unlikely, according to...