Nellore: Iffco’s Kisan Special Economic Zone, which was established to encourage establishment of agriculture-based production units, has opened gates for industries other than agriculture. The first of its kind SEZ in the country was setup in 2,777 acres at Racharlapadu in Kodavalur mandal, 25 km from Nellore City in 2008. In fact, the land was handed over to Iffco for a fertiliser factory way back in 1994 but the proposal was shelved due to skyrocketing cost of Naphtha, which is the base to run the unit then.
Iffco came out with Kisan SEZ proposal later when the government started demanding them to surrender the land. However, with hardly any patronage from farm based industries since last eight years, land is being allotted to different industrial units now. They include a renewable energy unit, warehouse, cold storage unit and an auto steel production unit besides a beverages unit of Coca Cola.
To speed up the activities in the SEZ, Iffco had also launched a joint venture firm in June this year with Kisan SEZ, Central Railside Warehousing Corporation and Indian Potash Ltd as promoters to build warehousing facility for 5,000 tonnes and cold storage for 2,000 tonnes in 155 acres at the SEZ. The JV already found a customer for cold storage facility.
Coca Cola, which entered into a pact with Kisan SEZ to establish fruit based non-alcoholic beverages unit gave its nod to make use of the cold storage. Officials of Iffco claim that the Coca Cola project is biggest one in Asia. Iffco officials said that Arcelormittal Auto Steel Ltd of famous Mittal group has sought 250 acres to setup an auto steel unit at an estimated cost of Rs 6,000 crore in three years.
The firm will export the steel to South East Asian countries. In addition to this two windmill tower manufacturers sought 50 acres each at the SEZ. A senior official of the Special Economic Zone said representatives of South Korean firm Kia Motors have visited the SEZ and they are waiting for their nod.
Ksez is a multi-product unit for farmers: CEO
Chief Executive Officer of Kisan Special Economic Zone M. Rajasekharaiah struck down the allegations over allotting land to non-agriculture industries in the KSEZ while stressing that it is a Multi Product SEZ. Government of India gave approval for the Multi Product SEZ in May 2008 and it was notified in April 2010, he noted. Reminding that Iffco is a farmer's cooperative, he said that the ultimate beneficiaries from the SEZ are farmers and not any private organisation.
According to the CEO, the SEZ is ready with basic infrastructure such as water, power, roads and drains. The organisation has spent more than `50 crore to draw 10 million gallons of water per day through two pipelines from Kanigiri Reservoir.
APSPDCL already commissioned a 2 MW power unit and the SEZ also entered into a pact with AP Transco to obtain 100 MW uninterrupted power for future needs. “We gave 60 acres at free of cost to Transco for this facility,” Mr Rajasekharaiah said. Referring to enquiries for land from MNCs, he said the SEZ, being close to NH, railway line and Krishnapatnam Port, is going to be a hub for industrial activity in next few years.