Uncertainty looms over proposed SEZ project

Dhangadi, August 11

The proposed Special Economic Zone project in Province 7 seems to have floundered amidst the inordinate delay in acquiring necessary land. Seven years on since the first feasibility study was carried out in Kailali, the project is yet to materialise.

For the same purpose, an extensive study was carried out at Haraiya of Godavari in 2010 but to no avail. The project came under further controversy after the locals protested against the idea of developing an industrial facility at the expense of agriculture land.

Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairperson Shankar Bogati, however, rued the uncertainty looming over the proposed project, underscoring its role for the development of the entire region.

According to Bogati, a Kailali CCI team is preparing to send a delegation to the Capital to pressurise the government to implement the project. As per the sources with the Special Economic Zone Authority, it is now mulling over the possibility of acquiring land in Talband and the vicinity of the Gauriganga Municipality.

“Talks are on to acquire land in Talband and the surrounding areas after developing the proposed facility in Haraiya wasn’t possible,” he said.

As per the SEZA report, the proposed facility will occupy 180 hectares of land and will comprise industrial plots and open greenery area. While 53 per cent of the SEZ will be occupied by industries, 26.8 per cent will feature greenery and open area.

The proposed facility will have130 plots. It will be called Dhangadi SEZ, irrespective of where it is built in the district, and is estimated to cost somewhere around Rs 2.5 billion. Economist Shivahari Mudbhari also bemoaned the delay in developing the special economic project.

The government had brought the policy to establish SEZ back in 1992/93 fiscal itself with the view to promote industrial production and export. In order to give further momentum to the project, a special economic project committee was formed in the fiscal 2003/04.

Besides, in order to implement the project, necessary laws had been formulated last year and Especial Economic Zone Authority had been established. In the changed context, the government has envisaged one special economic zone in each province.

As per the provisions, the industries to be established in SEZ will be exempted from income tax for five years. They are also required to use 60 per cent of raw materials from the country.