PANAJI: Objecting to Goa Industrial Development Corporation’s (GIDC) decision to e-auction 5 lakh sqm of industrial land which was re-possessed from the special economic zone (SEZ) promoters, Congress on Sunday demanded that the land should be allotted to Goan entrepreneurs. The party said that allotting the land to local entrepreneurs will aid industrial activity while also generating employment for locals.
State Congress president Girish Chodankar also alleged that GIDC’s move to repay the seven SEZ promoters with interest was a scam which needs to be investigated by the CBI. “They are trying to sell the land through e-auction which we are objecting to. We demand that they should not do that but should instead make small plots and give to our entrepreneurs,” said Chodankar.
Aside from asking for a CBI inquiry into the SEZ saga, particularly the out-of-court settlement, Chodankar also wants the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) to conduct an audit and investigate GIDC’s role in refunding the initial deposit paid by the SEZ promoters along with interest.
Chodankar said that there were no directions from the Supreme Court, or the high court to pay interest to the SEZ promoters nor did GIDC norms require interest to be paid. The Congress chief alleged that the move to pay the interest was part of a scam for which former chief minister Manohar Parrikar and other state government officials received kickbacks.
“When GIDC does not have money to pay their employees as per the seventh pay commission, they are negotiating and offering to pay Rs130 crore as interest to SEZ developers? I have written to the CAG demanding that a detailed study has to be done. We want to ask Vishwajit Rane to come clean and explain within seven days about his source of income and the various properties that he has acquired after this SEZ settlement,” he said.
The state party chief also said that the government should not appoint a consultant to auction the SEZ land as it would amount to wastage of funds. He said that the state has the expertise to auction the land on its own, adding that once a Congress government returns to power it will launch an investigation into the SEZ matter.