We can't change our anti-SEZ stand: Mamata Banerjee


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday reiterated her government's policy of not granting special economic zone (SEZ) status to Infosys - all at a time when the central government is mulling revival of SEZs, especially those held up for years, reducing the minimum area requirement and dishing out tax concession.

"It is our cabinet decision, our party decision that land acquisition and SEZ is not part of our policy. How can I change my policy for a particular company," a combative Banerjee told reporters here.

Banerjee said she had asked the union government to create a new segment under the IT sector with all kinds of facilities that are provided under the status of SEZ.

"We have already requested the central government to create a new segment under IT sector and equip it with all kind of facilities that are given under the status of SEZ," she said, adding: "We want everybody to invest in the state from Infosys to Wipro."

Earlier, after Banerjee had ruled out special economic zone (SEZ) status to Infosy's Kolkata campus, the IT bellwether had sought a meeting with her and had said it was looking for an 'alternative solution'.

Infosys had purchased 50 acres of land for the project in Rajarhat, on the northeastern fringes of the city, for Rs.1.5 crore per acre for the project. The company also had made the payment in full in October 2011.

The software company had recently written a letter to the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO), seeking clarification on its SEZ status in the state.

The chief minister's clarifications came amid reports that the central government considering concessions for IT SEZs with the commerce department suggesting that the minimum land requirement of 10 hectares be done away with.

Also, the requirement of one lakh square metres of built-up area would be insisted upon only if the IT or ITES zone is in Delhi (NCR), Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata.

Earlier this month, Banerjee had said many wanted her government to lift the land ceiling, forcibly acquire land of farmers and allow SEZs to come up again. "I will never do so. The people of Bengal do not believe in land mafias and looters," she had said.

There are now four IT SEZs in West Bengal - Wipro, Unitech, DLF and Bantala.

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