Scrap recycling units in SEZs to get a further 3-month extension

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on October 14, 2020 Published on October 14, 2020

Development Commissioners of KASEZ and Falta SEZ had sought 5-year extension; Government hopeful of policy soon

The Centre has decided to give a further three-month validity extension to the plastic and used cloth recycling units in Special Economic Zones in Kandla, Falta and Noida as an appropriate policy to deal with them is still being deliberated amongst stakeholder departments.

Setting aside a suggestion for a five-year extension for the units made by the Development Commissioners of KASEZ (Kandla SEZ) and Falta SEZ in West Bengal, the Board of Approval for SEZs, in its recent meeting, settled for a shorter period in the hope that an appropriate policy for such units may be in place by that time, an official keeping track of the meeting told BusinessLine.

“As the policy is under deliberations amongst the stakeholder departments, the Board decided to grant a further extension of three months, i.e., up to December 31, 2020, to the said units or (till the) final policy decision on the subject, whichever is earlier,” as per the minutes of the meeting. There are about 47 such units that have received extensions for their letter of approvals (LoAs). The last extension expired on September 30, 2020.

Centre grants 1-month extension to scrap recycling units in SEZs

In a state of uncertainty

While the Centre had banned issue of new licences for plastic recycling units more than a decade ago, SEZs and Export Oriented Units (EOUs) were allowed to continue running their recycling units till last year by importing solid plastic waste. The ban was placed to stop several developed nations, including the US, from dumping their plastic waste in India, harming the country’s environment.

In March 2019, the Ministry of Environment and Forest prohibited import of solid plastic waste in SEZs and EoUs as well. Some plastic recycling units listed in KASEZ, Falta and Noida were, however, granted a window to run their units for a short time (with piece-meal extensions being granted to their letter of approvals) with the condition that no item prohibited by the Ministry of Environment & Forest shall be allowed to be imported by such units.

The BoA had constituted a Committee on plastic waste recycling and worn and used clothing to decide on the fate of the existing units, whose recommendations are being discussed by the Directorate General of Export Promotion under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and other stakeholder departments.

Use of imported virgin scrap by recycling units in SEZs was one of the options being put forward by the industry that may be under consideration.

“Hopefully, all Ministries and Departments concerned including Commerce & Industry, Finance and Environment and Forest, will be able to reach a decision soon on the matter as uncertainty about the future is adversely affecting the 47 recycling units in the SEZs whose fate is hanging in the balance,” the official said.

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Published on October 14, 2020
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