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MUMBAI: Maharashtra may be positioning itself as an investment destination, but the global economic downturn and land acquisition woes have resulted in the developers of 25 SEZ projects with a proposed investment of around Rs 18,915 crore choosing to get them scrapped. The state now has 116 live SEZ projects spread over 22,216 hectare and with an investment potential of Rs 1.37 lakh crore. Put together, these projects have the potential to employ 52.34 lakh people and are in various stages of implementation.

A majority of these SEZ projects in Maharashtra are located on the Konkan coastline, which has access to port heads, followed by regions like Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nashik. While 63 of these 116 SEZs have been notified, 39 have been granted formal approvals and 14 have received an in-principle nod. A total of around 24 SEZs in the state are functional.

A senior industries department official attributed the exit decision of the promoters to the global economic downturn which would affect the market for exports and land acquisition problems. "Issues like the Eurozone crisis have led to instability in the global economy, and developers are now finding the domestic markets to be more lucrative in terms of returns," he said, pointing out that the SEZ model was "based on the Western markets."

A total of 10 SEZ projects in sectors like textiles, IT, power and agriculture spread around 675.78 hectare and with a proposed investment of Rs 5,031.64 crore and an employment generation potential of 2.20 lakh have chosen to get them denotified while 15 developers have withdrawn their SEZ projects in areas like the leather industry, engineering, IT, biotech, power and metal spread over 1,401.14 hectare and a proposed investment of Rs 13,883.74 crore and an employment potential of 2.52 lakh.