Infosys seeks more time to construct its IT/ITES SEZ in Noida

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on May 21, 2020 Published on May 21, 2020

In phase one, the developer has plans to develop a Software Development Block with a capacity to accommodate around 2,000 employees with an investment of roughly ₹150 crore   -  BL

Board of Approval for SEZs to meet on May 29

Information technology major Infosys Ltd has asked the government to extend the validity of approval for its proposed IT/ITES Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Noida beyond April. It also sought more time for construction of the minimum build up area on the ground that its work got hampered by the ban on construction activity in the NCR region late last year.

The Board of Approval for SEZs, which will meet for the first time on May 29 after the national lockdown was announced on March 25, will consider Infosys’ application which has been put up by the Development Commissioner of the SEZ for its approval, a government official told BusinessLine.

“Understandably, this time there are no applications yet for formal approvals for setting up SEZ zones or units as the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the uncertainty surrounding the economy and the fate of the zones. But there are a number of applications, such as one from Infosys, for extension of existing timelines which shows that investors are not ready to quit,” the official said.

Infosys Ltd, in its submission, has mentioned that the construction was on halt earlier due to ban on construction activity in Delhi NCR region by the Supreme Court in order to combat severe levels of pollution.

The apex court had banned all construction and demolition activities in the NCR region, along with the burning of garbage and waste, in November 2019, which was partially relaxed the following month. On February 14 2020, the ban was completely lifted, but economic activities again came to a halt the following month due to the lockdown.

“The developer has informed that they would be developing the SEZ in phased manner keeping in mind the market condition,” the application stated.

Software development block

In phase one, the developer has plans to develop a Software Development Block with a capacity to accommodate around 2,000 employees with an investment of roughly ₹150 crore. The built-up area of the block and its ancillaries would be measuring 22,000 sq mt.

“The developer has further stated that they have constraints to achieve the minimum built-up area as per stipulated time of five years from the date of SEZ notification,” as per the application, which added that Infosys had sought two additional years for completion.

Three SEZ units, too, have applied to the BoA seeking extension of their letters of approval. These include Cocogreen Organics Pvt Ltd and Ubergreen Organics Ltd in Kinfra SEZ, Malappuram, Kerala and Mindspace Infratech Pvt Ltd in MIDC SEZ, Pune.

The last meeting of the BoA on SEZs, chaired by the Commerce Secretary, was on March 20.

Over the last two months, SEZ units have complained to the government about large-scale cancellation in their export orders due to the global pandemic and sought relief. They want the Centre to exempt them from payment of customs duties on sale in the domestic market. SEZs also sought exemption from lease rent for the lockdown period, but the government has only granted more time for payment of rent.

Published on May 21, 2020

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