Cong MP asks PM to review SEZ land allotments New Delhi
Alleging misuse of government's Special Economic Zone policy by private companies, a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a detailed review of all SEZ land allotments in the country and stringent action against defaulters. In a letter to the Prime Minister today, Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao said, "Some selfish elements are getting lands allotted under SEZ and they never bother about the objectives of the SEZs." Rao said in his home state Andhra Pradesh, 110 SEZs had been approved but only 36 were operational. Between 2006-11, the state government allotted about 88,492 acres of land to private companies but the recent CAG report had said that 80 per cent of these lands had been lying unused. "The government acquired fertile lands from farmers by paying a nominal price. The farmers thought their wards can get employment and their area will get developed," Rao wrote. "But these farmers are disappointed now because no employment is generated, no industry came up, no development took place and above all their lands are being sold at high prices by the private parties in front of their eyes only," Rao said in his letter. He alleged that some companies were doing real estate business with lands allotted at cheaper price. Rao claimed that a company that had been given land to set up a steel plant but no steel plant came up. "I would therefore request you to order a detailed review on all the land allotments to the SEZs throughout India and if there are any defaulters, kindly order stringent action against them," Rao asked the PM in his letter. Rao also said that land should be taken from companies that had failed to set SEZs and returned to the people from whom they were acquired.