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Maharashtra will have ‘Special Education Zones’ says CM

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Mumbai: Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday said that the state government will soon set up 'special education zones' to meet the manpower requirement of SEZs. He made the announcement while addressing a twoday international seminar on 'SEZs In India-A Major Leap Forward' . “To meet the ever-increasing demand of SEZs (for manpower ), we are planning to reserve huge pieces of land to set up special education zones. If required, the DF government may even amend rules for the purpose,'' Deshmukh said. “In my opinion, it is essential for industrial houses to work in close coordination with educational institutions to meet the (manpower) requirement ,'' he added.

According to Deshmukh, 131 SEZ proposals have been cleared till now. “The projects will attract an investment of Rs 1,35,000 crore and create an estimated 60 lakh jobs,'' he said. “However, SEZs promoted by leading industrial houses are concentrated in the Konkan region. There is a need to set up more and more SEZs in the backward Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. We are planning a comprehensive package for setting up SEZs there. Our aim is to provide them with a red carpet and not red tape,'' he pointed out.

On the on-going agitation against acquisition of lands for SEZs, Deshmukh said, “Let the SEZ developer procure land directly from the farmers by negotiating with him. Farmers should be made stake-holders in the project and must be paid the market price for their land,'' he said.

Clarifying that the government will not interfere in the process, he asked SEZ developers to replicate the relief and rehabilitation policy drafted by the state-run MIDC in order to avoid agitation.

Commerce secretary G K Pillai said, “SEZs are here to stay. We should look at them from the aspect of development . From the current Rs 77,000 crore, we expect investments in the region to the tune of Rs 200,000 crore by 2009 and this could generate an employment from the current 214,499 to about 800,000.''

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