West Bengal to move petrochemicals park

30 March 2007 10:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--West Bengal has scrapped a plan to build a petrochemicals park in Nandigram, which would have formed the backbone of a special economic zone (SEZ), a government spokesman said on Friday.

The Marxist-controlled eastern Indian state has agreed to relocate the SEZ, after opposition from local villagers ended in clashes with police leading to 14 deaths last week.

The spokesman said the petrochemicals park would be relocated somewhere in West Bengal but could not say exactly where.

Land around the village of Nandigram, more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of the state capital Kolkata, was earmarked for petrochemical investment with the government making a compulsory purchase of the land.

Farmers complained compensation was not enough and was tantamount to expropriation of agricultural land.

The zones were set up in 2005 to offer generous tax subsidies to woo foreign investors and spur economic growth as part of a drive by New Delhi.

Despite opposition, the government has pledged not to reverse the SEZ policy and has even rolled out a new scheme that would create even larger zones known as PCPIRs -- petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals investment regions.

Five zones have been earmarked, which will cover 25,000 hectares (61,775 acres) and would sweep up existing SEZs.

By: Matt Kovac
+65 6780 4359

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