Reliance Ventures, HSIIDC to set up 25,000-acre SEZ in Haryana

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Overall investment pegged at Rs 40,000 cr; zone to house 2,000 MW power plant


Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

Going global

Focus on

emerging industries such as nanotech, biotech

Reliance to

hold 90 pc stake in jt venture

Zone will

generate five lakh direct and indirect jobs

Chandigarh, June 19

Reliance Ventures Ltd (RVL) and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) on Monday signed a joint venture agreement for setting up the country's largest special economic zone (SEZ) in the State, spread across 25,000 acres, at an overall investment of Rs 40,000 crore.

RVL also proposes to set up a power plant of 2,000 MW to meet the requirements of the SEZ and is contemplating a cargo airport, subject to necessary approvals.

Speaking at a conference, Mr Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, said: "It is a significant development in our history. It is the first time that Reliance Industries will be investing Rs 25,000 crore in a project outside Western India. We see this as a move whereby India will come into the centrestage of global economy."

The pact

He added that the board of the new company would finalise the financial structure of the project.

Under the agreement - signed by Mr Anand Jain, Director of Reliance Ventures, and Mr Rajeev Arora, Managing Director of HSIIDC - a joint venture company called Reliance Haryana SEZ Ltd has been formed with Reliance holding 90 per cent stake and HSIIDC the rest.

The agreement paves the way for the controversial transfer of about 1,395 acres, which were acquired by HSIIDC for setting up an SEZ near Garhi Harsaru in Gurgaon district.

The decision to integrate the two sites was taken to avoid internal competition and to achieve synergy in implementing the zone.

The location of the SEZ falls in Gurgaon and Jhajjar districts and would be abutting the proposed Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway on both sides.

HSIIDC proposes to transfer the land by realising the total cost of acquisition upfront, interest capitalised as holding cost at the rate of nine per cent a year, and administrative cost at the rate of 15 per cent of the cost of the acquired land.

This would translate into an amount of Rs 360 crore against a compensation of Rs 300 crore paid by HSIIDC.

In addition, HSIIDC would get sweat equity without any investment at 10 per cent of the total equity.

Mr Ambani said: "The SEZ will create infrastructure for services industries, manufacturing industries and agri-business. The challenge for us is to think in terms of `Team India', where we can compete globally with countries such as China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Dubai."

He added: "We will attract capital to our SEZ in a way that is most competitive. We will create an infrastructure showpiece that can catapult India into the mainstream of global investment."

The SEZ would focus on emerging industries like nanotechnology and biotechnology, he added.

Overall, the SEZ would catalyse an investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore and generate direct and indirect employment for over five lakh people.

On the returns that Reliance Industries is expecting from the project, he said that the company was looking at returns to the tune of 18-20 per cent.

For a three-member board, HSIIDC would nominate one director and Reliance Venture two. In case the board strength exceeds six directors, HSIIDC will nominate two directors.

Reliance also plans to list the company, although it has not given a timeframe.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said that the revenue of the State would rise by Rs 10,000 crore per year on account of the project.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 20, 2006)
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