M A I N   N E W S

Reliance inks pact with Haryana
25,000-acre economic zone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Overruling objections by Opposition parties and even a ruling party MP, the Reliance Industries and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) today signed a joint venture agreement for setting up a Rs 25,000-crore multi-product special economic zone (SEZ). The agreement was signed between Reliance Ventures, a subsidiary of RIL, and the HSIIDC in the presence of Reliance Industries Chairman, Mr Mukesh Ambani, and the state Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The project has provisions for a cargo airport and a 2,000 MW power plant, subject to necessary approvals.

The agreement was signed by the HSIIDC M.D., Mr Rajeev Arora, and Mr Anand Jain, Director of Reliance Ventures.

The agreement paves the way for the transfer of about 1395 acres of land which was acquired by the HSIIDC for setting up of a SEZ near Garhi Harsaru in Gurgaon district. The Central Government had accorded approval in principle in March last for the setting up of this mega project over an area of 25,000 acres. In return, the HSIIDC will receive the exact cost of compensation paid to land owners, 9 per cent interest on this amount and 15 per cent administrative charges on the compensation amount.

The JV, Reliance Haryana SEZ Ltd, would initially have three directors, two from Reliance and one from the HSIIDC.

Immediately after signing the deal, Mr Ambani promised to develop the SEZ as a world-class hub for manufacturing, services and agri-based industries in the most competitive environment. Reliance would invest Rs 25,000 crore in the project and seek investments from third parties.

Mr Hooda said the SEZ would create five lakh jobs and revenues up to Rs 10,000 crore. Reliance and the HSIIDC would hold equity in the joint venture in the ratio of 90:10. He said the HSIIDCs stake in the project was increased to 10 per cent from 5 per cent proposed earlier after hard negotiations.

The SEZ project, RIL’s first major investment outside the western region, would serve as an aggregated hub of world-class infrastructure in northern India. Mr Ambani said they would attract Fortune 500 companies to invest in the zone. The project was expected to give returns of 18-20 per cent, similar to what RIL gets from other projects.

Mr Ambani said the SEZ would focus on new generation industries like nano-technology and bio-technology. “It will also host agro-industries,” he said. The joint venture company would be listed on the bourses within a specified timeframe. The RIL would also be listing its other two other SEZs at Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and Jamnagar in Gujarat.

The SEZ is going to come up near National Highway 8 in Gurgaon and would extend to Jhajar district adjacent to the proposed Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway. About 5 per cent of the area is being earmarked for leisure and recreation. “A possible tie-up with Disney, Time Warner or Universal could be undertaken,” Mr Ambani said. A golf course as per the standards prescribed by the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) will also be set up.

Asked about the opposition by the Congress MP, Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, Mr Hooda said there was no issue with the party and the decision was taken by the state Cabinet.

As per the SEZ Rules, 35 per cent of the project area to be developed as process area that is 8000 acres is likely to generate an annual turnover of Rs 1,00,000 crore. The revenue collected at the rate of 10 per cent for domestic tariff scale is likely to generate an annual earnings from industrial activities to the tune of Rs 5000 crore to the State exchequer. An equal amount of revenue is likely to be generated through indirect services and economic activities making the state economy robust and generating surplus for development of the entire state. The current revenue of the state at Rs 20,000 crore is likely to increase to Rs 30,000 crore on account of this project alone.

Mr Hooda said the utilisation of land and conditions of lease would be strictly controlled by the Development Commissioner to be appointed by the Union Government. The state government had come out with a uniform policy on land acquisition and any multi-product SEZ being set up in the state would be given similar treatment under the policy. The charges being paid by the RVL to the HSIIDC were strictly in accordance with this policy of the state government and any further acquisition that might be necessary for implementation of the project would also follow the same norms.

The Union Government had so far granted in principle approval to about 21 private developers for setting up of SEZs in Haryana and 22 proposals were in the pipeline with the state government.

The location of the proposed SEZs cover such industrially backward areas like Mewat, Jhajjar and Rohtak within the NCR and Ambala outside the NCR. As per the new policy, the state government, while acquiring land for private developers will ensure that the developers will undertake to provide essential services like roads, street lights, drainage and sewerage, drinking water supply and build suitable medical care and schools alongwith community centre in all such villages where the village population is relocated at a new place.

The developers will also be required to set up industrial and training institutes and polytechnics in such areas to improve employment opportunities for the local youth. Also, the developer will undertake to give employment to at least one member of the family whose land is acquired for setting up the project.


Mukesh calls on Punjab CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mr Mukesh Ambani, today assured the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that he was determined to launch his ambitious field-to-fork project in the state at the earliest.

Mr Ambani, who was here to sign an MoU with the Haryana Government, called on Capt Amarinder Singh before flying back to Mumbai in his private plane. The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, was also present at the meeting.

RIL had planned to sell farm fresh produce from Punjab to other parts of the country through its chain of retail outlets. Its investment on the project in the state is expected to be in the range of Rs 6,000 crore.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government had prepared a draft of the offer to be made to RIL with regard to the project. The draft would be put up before the Council of Ministers next week for approval before signing an MoU with RIL, it is learnt.


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