Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goa High Court directs petitioners to file SEZ pleas

All advocates appearing in petitions relating to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Goa have been directed by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court to finish filing and exchanging their pleadings by May 7 2009.

A division bench of the court made it clear that no further adjournment would be granted and also suggested that the petitions could be taken up for final disposal in June this year.

The court was hearing petitions filed by six SEZ promoters who have challenged the show cause notices issued by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The notices direct the promoters to stop the work and revert the land allotted to them by the state government in view of the change in the state's SEZ policy.

The promoters - Meditab Specialities PVt. Ltd, Peninsular Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd., Paradigm logistic and & distribution pvt ltd, Planetvie mercantile company pvt ltd.,Inox mercantile company private limited and Maxgrow finlease Pvt Ltd. have all pleaded in their respective petitions that as they have invested heavily in the SEZ projects, they have suffered huge losses due to the stop work orders issued by the state government and prayed that the notices be quashed.

It may be recalled that the GIDC had acquired around 3.8 million sq m of land across the state to set up SEZs. However what allowed was a large scale opposition from locals in Goa to the SEZs since 2007 which inevitable forced the state government of Goa to rethink its policy which resulted in the subsequent scrapping of the SEZ policy and show cause notices were issued through the GIDC.

On may 7, the court is also expected to hear various public interest litigations filed by the villagers of Keri, Sancoale and Verna challenging the GIDC's decision to allot land in their respective villages on lease agreements for SEZs.

The villagers have alleged that the land in question was allotted under fraudulent means and without any public involvement in the whole land allotment process. It may be recalled that recently a CAG report had slammed the GIDC on its procedure of allotment and for the handling of the whole SEZ issue.

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