The Sikkim Government’s proposal seeking formal approval for its IT/ITeS SEZ at Namli, East Sikkim will be taken up by the Centre for approval later this month but the developers will need to follow various Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines strictly as the zone falls in the notified restricted area for foreigners.

The Development Commissioner of FALTA SEZ, which has furnished all required documents for formal approval to the Board of Approval for SEZs for the Namli SEZ, has recommended that the proposal may be considered on the condition of strict compliance with the Ministry of Home Affairs directions on monitoring employment of persons in the SEZ and not employing any Chinese national as the zone falls under restricted area for foreigners.

“The BoA, in its scheduled meeting on May 28, will take up the proposal for formal approval to IT/ITeS SEZ at Namli and since the Sikkim government has managed to comply with most requirements, it is likely to give its approval. But it is necessary that the developers convince the BoA that the zone will comply with all security requirements including the restrictions on movement of foreigners in the area,” a person associated with SEZs told BusinessLine .

The IT/ITeS SEZ, spread over an area of 6.32 hectares with a proposed investment of ₹50 crore, will employ an estimated 1,000 persons formally and 4,000 informally and is expected to generate exports worth about ₹ 100 crore over five years.

Restricted area

Since the location falls under notified Restricted Area, no foreigner can enter or stay without obtaining Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from the competent authority, the MHA pointed out in its security clearance granted to the proposed SEZ, according to the agenda for the BoA meeting.

“SEZ may attract long-term stay of foreigners in the area who may reside in the State Capital, Gangtok, which has presence of many Defence Installations including 17 Mountain Division. Hence, the possibility of enemy agents carrying out espionage activities under the garb of IT professionals cannot be ruled out. For setting up of SEZ at Namli, the movement of foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, will have to be monitored as the RAP norms followed,” the MHA noted.

The State government has certified that the land on which the SEZ is to be built is duly approved for transfer from Sikkim government to the Department of Information Technology, is free from all encumbrances and is also contiguous.

“DC, Falta SEZ has stated that as per MHA’s directions, the employment of persons in the SEZ shall be strictly monitored by the Developer under RAP norms and in no situation any Chinese national shall be employed in this SEZ. The request has been forwarded for consideration by the BoA,” the agenda noted.

TN projects

Two more applications, both for in-principle approval, will be considered by the BoA in its next meeting. This includes an application for setting up of a multi-sector SEZ at Thiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu, by Magnus Infrastructure Ltd over an area of 50.58 hectares.

The second application is from NDR Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd also seeking to set up a multi-sector SEZ at Ranipet district, Tamil Nadu, over an area of 50.58 hectares.