Controversy Over SEZ In Kerla

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) alleges that the current controversy over Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the State has its roots in the schism in the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), with one section showing undue haste in getting them cleared to help certain real estate companies.
The KPCC executive committee, which met here on Sunday, discussed the SEZ controversy among other issues and decided to come out with a statement reiterating the party’s policy perspective on the topic. KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala explained the party’s stand on the issue at a press conference after the meeting.
The committee felt that the controversy in the CPI (M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) it led was uncalled for. The LDF government had already cleared SEZs in several places in the State focusing on sectors such as Information Technology and neither the Communist Party of India nor Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had found fault with the policy when it was mooted.
In a note circulated at the meeting, Mr. Chennithala, laying out the party’s policy, said a majority of the 21 applications before the government seeking SEZ status were from real estate groups and builders whose main objective was to construct apartments and allied facilities.
Listing out the names of the companies, Mr. Chennithala said in his note that the Industries Department had forwarded the applications of some of these companies to the Chief Minister’s office without proper spadework and by exempting them from the mandatory government clearance. And the proposals were sent for Central clearance without a discussion in the Cabinet. Most of the companies had exaggerated their investments in the SEZ and many involved farmlands, the note said.
Later at a press meet, Mr. Chennithala said the Chief Minister had now opposed the SEZs not because of ideological differences but because his party’s State committee had sought to corner him politically.The KPCC president said the Congress stance had been clarified by party president Sonia Gandhi at the Nainital All India Congress Committee session.

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