Gujarat Hira Bourse Denotified as SEZ

Chandrakant Sanghavi
Chandrakant Sanghavi

Surat: The Gujarat Hira Bourse (GHB) project in Surat has been denotified as a Special Economic Zone, according to a decision taken by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India recently, reports  The notification from the ministry, signed by Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Jt Secy, Department of Commerce, has rescinded an earlier government order of 2007 under which the bulk of the project area at Ichhapor, Surat had been notified as an SEZ.

Chandrakant Sanghavi, President, GHB says that the organisation had decided to voluntarily surrender the SEZ status and had begun the process of applying for this change more than a year ago. “There were many procedural issues and hurdles that manufacturers within the SEZs are facing. Companies wanted units to have flexibility to supply both the export and domestic markets,” he explained.

The project had faced some delays after it was first announced in 2004. Though many of the plots in the GHB have reportedly been purchased by big and small manufacturers subsequently, hardly any of the companies had begun actual construction following policy changes like the withdrawal of IT benefits and other export incentives from SEZs announced in 2011.

In February this year, the Gujarat government gave its ‘No Objection’ to the denotification, and subsequently the Development Commissioner, Falta Special Economic Zone also recommended the proposal, clearing the way for the recent notification from the central government.

Clarifying that the decision was not related to market conditions, Sanghavi said that Surat was still a big export centre, and also had a fully operational SEZ at Sachin. “Many local as well as Mumbai-based companies were looking to set up units in the GHB that have the ability to cater to both the local and international demand,” Sanghavi said.

“We expect more companies to now begin construction,” said Sanghavi, adding that the infrastructure for the park has been completed and it offers a modern and well-equipped environment for manufacturing activity. He said that there are already seven fully operational units within the GHB, though they were on land that fell outside the notified SEZ area, and another approximately 10 units that are currently under construction also on plots that lay in the DTA area outside the erstwhile zone.

The upcoming Surat Diamond Bourse, which is being developed as a trading centre for rough and polished will be an additional attraction to manufacturing units in the GHB. “Trading of diamonds, even for the international markets can happen from there in the future,” said Sanghavi, noting that the SDB project is however still at a nascent stage.