The Election Commission (EC) has turned down the shipping ministry’s request to go ahead with land allotment for warehousing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Terminal (JNPT), citing the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). Voting in last phase of ongoing seven phased Lok Sabha elections 2019 is on 19 May. The counting of the votes will take place on 23 May. The Model Code of Conduct will remain in force till the end of the electoral process.
The total investment expected from the two land parcels for which the land was sought is around Rs 1,000 crore. The disapproval may lead to delay in project development by private companies.
Experts feel the delay would only be for a month and would not really impact the warehousing projects planned around the port. But the process will be delayed, an official said.
The JNPT planned to auction a 300-acre land parcel in the special economic zone (SEZ) meant for the industrial area. The land falls under the 670-acre SEZ developed near the port.
The SEZ is planned to build Free Trade Warehousing Zone, engineering goods sector, electronics and hardware sector, and pharma sector, which would be aligned with the central and state government’s vision of inclusive growth. JNPT SEZ has already acquired all regulatory clearances. To make the proposal attractive for prospective bidders, the JNPT has relaxed certain norms in the SEZ, which includes easy exit by transferring assets to another entity.
The SEZ has locational advantage and is connected with multi-modal facilities. It received a valuation of Rs 13 crore an acre in the auction for a 44-acre plot for warehousing, against a reserve price of Rs 2 crore. It is hopeful that the land parcel will fetch around Rs 3 crore an acre as the land use may not be that attractive to buyers and can only be used for industrial and manufacturing activities.
It is learnt that Taiwanese IT major Foxconn and Dubai-based DP World have evinced interest to participate in the auction. Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer of mobile phones and TV panels in the country, had earlier announced investing $5 billion in Maharashtra.
The greater Mumbai region, under which the port falls, offers ready supply base, skilled manpower and logistics facilities. JNPT plans to double the cargo carrying capacity to 10 twenty-foot equivalent to 10 million by 2022.