Navi Mumbai SEZ to get final approval in July

The government is set to give its final go-ahead to the Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by the middle of next month.

After a formal approval to the project, the construction of this SEZ had been stalled for over four years since it failed to comply with the contiguity norms of the SEZ policy.

The go-ahead would be given at the upcoming meeting of the commerce ministry’s Board of Approval (BoA), chaired by Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar.

At the meeting, likely to take place on July 15, the panel constituted to examine the issue was expected to grant its final approval and allow the units present there to operate, commerce ministry officials told Business Standard.

The panel had representatives from the Commerce Department, Department of Revenue, Department of Economic Affairs, Central Board Of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The team visited the site last week for a final examination.

Navi Mumbai SEZ (NMSEZ) Pvt Ltd, promoted by Mukesh Ambani Ambani and his associate Anand Jain, had proposed splitting the 1,233-hectare multi-product SEZ into five separate SEZs after it failed to comply with the contiguity rules.

“This would save our cost estimates by as much as Rs 100-150 crore. Earlier, if we were to keep it as one composite zone and build flyovers or underpasses, we would have incurred a total cost of around Rs 400 crore. So, this proposal was much more cost-efficient. Besides, it is not feasible for anymore to maintain a huge SEZ, as the concept has lost the exuberance,” said a senior NMSEZ official who refused to be named.

The official, however, also said that even after the final approval it would take the company at least a year to start operations. Since the company had proposed to split the SEZ into five zones, there would now be a multi-product SEZ, a light engineering SEZ, two ITeS SEZs and a warehousing zone, the official said.

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