To boost port-led industrialization, a draft report prepared by the union ministry of shipping has proposed creation of three coastal economic zones (CEZs) in Gujarat as part of the Central government's ambitious Sagarmala programme. As many as 14 such CEZs have been envisaged along country's coastline.
A coastal economic zone is conceived to be a spatial economic region comprising a group of coastal districts or districts with port-linkages. The idea is to link ports, industries and infrastructure into a single system at regional level.
CEZ could be developed in the immediate hinterland of existing as well as new proposed ports. Within each CEZ, there will be multiple industrial clusters, each with discrete land bank.
The three regions identified for CEZs in Gujarat are Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat. The probable districts, which could be covered under CEZs, include Kutch, Jamanagar, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Ahmedabad in Saurashtra region and Bharuch, Surat, Navsari and Valsad in South Gujarat. All these areas come under the influence of major and non-major ports.
"Coastal Economic Zone is an important aspect of the Sagarmala program and will be the main vehicle for kick-starting port led industrialization in India," the draft report says. The Sagarmala project aims at accelerating economic development in the country by harnessing the potential of India's coastline.
"This is the first time any government is thinking about an integrated scheme. Sagarmala includes ports, coastal shipping, inland waterways and all the industrial development close to the ports. CEZ will boost port-led industrialization and development in Gujarat as it seeks to link ports, infrastructure and industries," said a city-based port consultant.
Unlike existing Special Economic Zones (SEZs), these regions are envisaged to be much bigger like China's Shenzhen SEZ, which is spread across 2,050 square kilometres.
As per the report, the states are expected to come forward to work with the centre to develop these CEZs and the corresponding industrial clusters. However, experts and port consultants believe that the success of these CEZs depends a lot on the tax structure, incentives and actual implementation.
Source : Times of India