Plastic, used cloth recycling units in SEZs get 6-month breather

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2021

Dept of Commerce has circulated draft roadmap for such units to other stakeholders but yet to receive inputs

The plastic recycling and worn and used clothing units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Kandla, Falta and NOIDA have received yet another breather with the Board of Approval for the zones granting them a fresh extension of six months.

This happened after the Commerce Ministry reported that it is yet to receive inputs from stakeholder Ministries and Departments on the draft policy framework for such units.

“The Commerce Ministry had circulated to all stakeholders, including the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a draft roadmap for SEZ units engaged in recycling plastic and used clothing late last month. It is important to decide on the fate of these units fast, given the fact that import of solid plastic waste is prohibited in the rest of the country,” an official tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

Also read: BoA to consider 5-year extension for recycling units following talks on safeguards

The BoA granted the six-month extension to the Letter of Approvals for all 47 recycling units, up to June 30, 2021, subject to clearance of all government dues, including penalties and rents by the units, as per the minutes of the meeting.

The extension shall also be subject to the notification of amendments in relevant rules by MoEFCC and the subsequent finalisation of policy by the Department of Commerce in this regard, the BoA noted. All the Development Commissioners concerned should ensure that the units fulfil all other criteria and there are no violation of SEZ Act Rules, it said.

“The BoA linked the six month extension in validity for the recycling units to the notification in amendments in relevant rules to ensure that if a decision on the final policy for such units is taken by the Ministries and Departments concerned in the interim period, the units will need to follow these,” the official explained.

Till some time back, only SEZs and EoUs were allowed to run recycling units as the government had banned issue of new licenses for such units in the country. In March 2019, the MoEFCC prohibited import of solid plastic waste in SEZs and EoUs as well, but, a few dozen plastic recycling units were exempted from this rule.

The Centre has thus, been engaged in formulating an appropriate policy for 47 such plastic and used cloth recycling units to decide on their fate. “Various options are being weighed by the Ministries and Departments concerned to see how such units could operate without compromising on the need to protect the environment,” the official said.

Published on January 13, 2021

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