‘No five-year permits for plastic recycling units’

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on October 22, 2021

Will be given 18-month licence in line with norms, says SEZ Board of Approvals

The Board of Approvals for SEZs declined to give five-year licence for SEZ-based plastic recycling units saying that the approval has to be renewed every 18 months.

In a recent meeting, the BoA struck down a request from the Kandla SEZ Industries Association for five-year renewal of approvals for plastic recycling units. Short term renewals were creating operational problems for units and increasing costs. The BoA said it was not possible under existing stipulations.

‘18-month approval only’

Plastic recycling units located in Special Economic Zones can operate subject to tight controls specified earlier this year by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, only for 18 months, and not any longer, after which their performance will be reassessed for further extension, the BoA ruled.

“Allowing import of plastic raw material by recycling units in SEZs is a very delicate matter as such imports have been banned in the rest of the country for a long time now. After much deliberations over the last two years, the MoEF&CC came up with a notification to continue to allow SEZ units to import raw material but it imposed stringent conditions, including export obligation. The BoA has to ensure that the instructions are not wrongly interpreted while granting concessions to the SEZ units,” an official tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

Environment Ministry view

“It will be pre-mature at this point to give extensions to plastic re-cycling units beyond 18 months,” the BoA observed. The BoA had recently extended approvals to plastic recycling units in SEZs for 18 months, counting from January 2021 based on the Environment Ministry notification.

Following requests for approvals for longer than 18 months made by SEZ developers, the Environment Ministry clarified to the BoA through a recent letter that as per the amended notification of January 27 2021 it is clear that import of post-industrial or pre consumer polyethylene wastes’ and polymethyl methacrylate’ by SEZ and EOU units would not be affected after 18 months from the date of notification. However, the percentage of export obligation may be decided after review/audit undertaken as mentioned in the amended notification.

Published on October 22, 2021

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