Constituent policy

SEZs in Cyber ​​City: Haryana Seeks Comment on Controversial Policy

: Haryana’s controversial proposal to grant licenses for the establishment of cyber-cities and cyber-parks on land set aside for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) has been made public for stakeholder suggestions.

The proposal to allow the conversion of denotified SEZs into cyber-cities or parks was abandoned by the Council of Ministers on July 29 following objections from two senior ministers.

On July 28, the Hindustan Times had reported how the Department of Town and Country Planning was pushing the controversial proposal at a time when the central government was planning to enact legislation by presenting the Government Bill to Parliament. development of business and service centers to reform and remodel. declining SEZs in the country. The bill is expected to be tabled during the winter session of Parliament.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in the 2022-23 budget that the SEZ Act would be replaced by new legislation that will allow states to become partners in the development of enterprise centers and services.

Sitharaman also said it would cover all existing and new major industrial enclaves to make optimal use of available infrastructure and improve export competitiveness. Thus, the timing of the state cabinet memorandum to push for the conversion of denotified SEZs into cyber cities and parks had raised questions.

A boon for the promoters who bought the land from the SEZ

There are 22 notified SEZs in Haryana and only seven are operational. “If implemented, the proposed policy will provide a boon to property developers who have purchased land from failing SEZs,” said a property industry expert who did not wish to be named.

Property industry experts say that if a SEZ is denotified, the piece of land will inevitably become agriculture in the wild. Converting it into a cyber city or a park will require amending the Restricted Unregulated Development of Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Act of Punjab and the Urban Areas Development and Regulation Act of Haryana, they said. they stated.

“Furthermore, what happens to tax exemptions given to SEZs. As per Haryana SEZ Act, all transactions and transfers of immovable property or documents pertaining thereto in SEZ are exempt from stamp duty’’, said an expert.

Reduced IT component; residential, increased commercial

According to the draft policy, a maximum of 45% of the licensed area with a floor area ratio (FAR) of 225 is allowed for residential group housing, 5-10% of the licensed area with a FAR of 175 is licensed for commercial use and a minimum of 50% of the licensed area with a FAR of 250 for setting up a computer component in a cyber city.

Thus, it is now proposed to reduce to 50% the authorized use of the area for the IT component in a cyber-city, against a minimum of 66% approved in July 2020 by the cabinet.

On the other hand, it is proposed to increase the residential component to 45% from a maximum of 25% and the commercial component from 5 to 10% from 4 to 8%.

The draft policy also proposes to reduce the minimum area standard for establishing a cyber city from a minimum of 50 acres to over 24 acres, which can also be relaxed by up to 10%.

For cyber parks, which according to the draft policy will be permitted on 5-24 acres instead of the previous 5-50 acres, a maximum of 10% of the permitted area with an FAR of 225 will be permitted for residential group accommodation and a maximum of 4% of the authorized area with FAR of 175 will be allowed for commercial use. A minimum of 86% of the licensed area with a FAR of 250 is allowed for computer units or use.

Feedback sought as per cabinet decision

Senior officials said that while suspending the proposal, Haryana’s cabinet decided to put the draft policy in the public domain to get comments from the public and stakeholders including the Ministry of Commerce of Haryana. Union and Haryana Department of Industries and Commerce as SEZs are subject to industries. department and any related decision cannot be taken without their consultation.

“Soliciting comments from stakeholders is in line with the decision of the Council of Ministers. Nothing unusual about that,’ an official said.

“The policy will only come into effect after considering all suggestions received on the draft policy and after undertaking the necessary changes in the law,” reads the public notice issued by the planning department. and land use planning.

According to the draft policy, denotified SEZs located in any land use area of ​​the published development plan, except for the residential area, will also be eligible for a cyber city or park license in accordance with the standards. area and approach specified in this policy. .

In the case of denotified SEZs, applying for a cyber city or park settlement license, construction erected on the site in accordance with approved construction plans shall not be treated as unauthorized and shall be incorporated into the construction plans. proposed construction of the area and the certificate of occupancy for the same must be issued in accordance with the provisions of the building code of 2017 after aggravating the violations committed therein. However, the relevant pre-approval package must be submitted to the department with the license application.