Salt Trading land to be acquired to set up SEZ

Kathmandu, March 17

A high-level government committee has instructed the Ministry of Industry (MoI) to initiate the process of purchasing land owned by Salt Trading Corporation in Biratnagar to establish a special economic zone (SEZ).

Salt Trading owns 850 bighas (575.67 hectares) of land in Biratnagar. The Infrastructure Project Monitoring High-level Committee, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, has instructed MoI to initiate process of purchasing 300 bighas (203.18 hectares) of land owned by Salt Trading.

“The ministry should table the proposal on acquisition of land to Cabinet,” the committee has said.

The government had formed the high-level committee to facilitate infrastructure development works in the country. Its basic task is to remove all the hurdles on the way of physical infrastructure development in the country and make recommendations to the Cabinet to expedite project implementation.

The committee comprises Deputy Prime Minister and Local Development Minister Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel, Information and Communications Minister Sherdhan Rai, Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Yubaraj Khatiwada, and Finance Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi as members.

The committee has also instructed the MoI to initiate the process of expanding the area of the SEZ located in Bhairahawa.

The SEZ in Bhairahawa is spread on 52 bighas (35.22 hectares) of land. The committee has directed MoI to initiate process of acquiring 250 bighas (169.32 hectares) of additional land in the vicinity to expand special economic zone.

The government had set up SEZ in Bhairahawa for the first time to promote export-oriented industries. However, it has not been able to attract significant number of industrialists since its establishment in November 2014.

To entice industrialists to set up their bases, the government has proposed to reduce the rental fee at Bhairahawa SEZ to Rs 25 per square metre per month from the existing Rs 150 per square metre per month.

The government has also pledged to provide incentives, such as duty free facility to import raw materials and corporate tax exemption, among others, to those who set up bases at the SEZ in Bhairahawa.

Among others, the committee has instructed the Ministry of Finance to arrange funds to establish a garment processing zone (GPZ) on the land in Simara acquired to establish a SEZ.

Land spread on 350 bighas (237.04 hectares) on Block 1 of proposed SEZ site is being developed as GPZ. The committee has instructed the MoI to expedite the process of establishing the GPZ.