Government keen to get facility into gearThe government is mulling to start the operation of Special Economic Zone (Sez) in Bhairahawa even with fewer factories willing to set up their plants in the facility.
The government is mulling to start the operation of Special Economic Zone (Sez) in Bhairahawa even with fewer factories willing to set up their plants in the facility.
Under the current provision, Sez can be operated only if all 62 of its plots are leased out.
Chandika Prasad Bhatta, executive director of Sez, said the government is considering to start the operation even if a single factory comes for registration. “If there is no sufficient number of applicants, we will permit a single production plant provided it meets the standards set by the government,” said Bhatta, speaking at a programme organised by the Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce on Saturday.
The government has been seeking the entrepreneurs to set up their production plants in the Sez since the last one and a half years. However, it has failed to attract a notable number of factories.
Earlier, the authority had called for the letter of intent twice from the entrepreneurs, just to draw attention of a dozen of prospective groups. The previous working guideline that had set the rate of land at Rs150 per square metre and a minimum fixed capital of Rs50 million for investors has been blamed for the low turnout.
However, the Cabinet amended the guideline last week, bringing down the land rate to Rs20 per square metre the minimum capital required to Rs20 million. Bhatta said the rule was amended to attract more manufacturers into Sez. According to him, the amended law has also come up with easing conditions for manufacturers along with additional facilities.
Sez on May 3 called for a fresh letter of intent from the manufacturers for the third time, setting June 1 as the deadline to submit proposals.
Bhatta said the government has plan to operate Sez immediately. “We will not proceed for additional call for proposals even if we do not receive adequate number of proposals this time,” he said.
According to the Sez board, the manufacturers will be handed over the leased land in two months. Similarly, the authorities are also planning to extend the time frame in which the manufacturers should start their business after they hired the space.
“We are also reviewing the previous condition in which the firms have to start their businesses in a year,” said Bhatta, adding that they were amending certain provisions to attract large firms.
The private entrepreneurs, however, blamed lack of clear policy on operating business in Sez, including that on energy supply, for the poor response.
Rajesh Agrawal, managing director of Siddhartha Industrial Group, said the authority should assure that the firms would not have to wait for long just to receive the electricity line.
“In addition, the authority should prohibit the practice of sub-leasing the space in Sez,” he said.