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Tata Steel has sought one year's time from the government to start execution of its multi- product special economic zone (SEZ) project in Odisha, saying that it is waiting for environment clearance. The proposal to grant extension will be taken up by the Board of approval, highest decision making body on SEZ related issues, in its meeting on November 17. The inter-ministerial board is headed by commerce secretary Rita Teaotia. According to the agenda note of the board, Tata Steel SEZ Ltd, Gopalpur, Odisha has sought "further extension of the formal approval for setting up a multi-product SEZ beyond December". The company has sought extension of one year up till December 17, 2018. It has stated that it could not start the activities in the zone in the absence of environmental clearance (EC) and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearance. Tata Steel SEZ had applied for environmental clearance on March 24 and CRZ clearance on July 3 this year and final expert appraisal committee of Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change recommended for grant of EC and CRZ clearance on October 16. "The formal approval letter of ERC and CRZ clearance is expected by end of November, post which the infrastructure development activity would be taken up," the board said. SEZs are export hubs.
Overseas shipments from these zones and export oriented units contributed about 33 per cent to the countrys total exports. Till September 7, the government has approved as many as 424 zones, of which 222 are operational. Exports from these zones grew about 12 per cent to Rs 5.24 lakh crore in 2016-17 as against Rs 4.67 lakh crore in the previous fiscal.
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