Goodbye SEZs

This had to happen. Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee, the chief minister of West Bengal on the eastern coast of India, has decided to cancel plans for a chemical zone at Nandigram. He claimed full responsibility for the violence on March 14, when police firing left 14 protestors dead.

Bhattarcharjee has promised to build the chemicals zone at another location in the state but popular politics is going to make this a difficult proposition. Land acquisition, especially from farmers, will be a major challenge

The Nandigram debacle has already forced other states to rethink their plans for large special economic zones (SEZs). It also raises questions on the government’s plans for developing mega refining and petrochemical hubs just when it had finally framed a petrochemical policy.

And what about foreign investors are showing interest in setting up plants in the country. My advice – start looking at other options.

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