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State will have to return govt land acquired for cancelled SEZs

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Cancelled Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Maharashtra will have to return the Revenue department land they have acquired, but they can keep the land bought from farmers, officials said.

According to an official from Industries Department, more than 24,000 hectares were acquired for SEZs by industrial houses in the state.

The previous Manmohan Singh government had approved 139 SEZs in Maharashtra during its 10-year rule at the Centre, he said.

Land measuring 24,784 hectares, both public and private, was bought for the SEZs by various industrial houses in the state. These lands are still in their custody, though the licenses of 70 SEZs were either cancelled or their promoters quit the scheme, after a change in policy by the central government, he said.

In the remaining 69 SEZs, the businesses have not yet been set up on the land acquired, the official said.

Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary (Industries), said, “If the land has been acquired from farmers, it will remain with the entrepreneur for whom the SEZ was approved. If the land is acquired from the Revenue department, the state will take it back in case the SEZ is cancelled.”

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