By Tommy Wilkes
NEW DELHI, July 16 (Reuters) - India's new government has
given Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone the green
light to develop an 8,481 hectare coastal plot of land in
western India, clearing the way for the group to build a huge
desalination plant, Adani said on Wednesday.
The clearance process had stalled under India's previous
government, which lost power to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in
May, and Adani has waited several years to get the go-ahead.
Adani, part of billionaire Gautam Adani's conglomerate, said
in a statement the environment ministry had granted environment
and coastal regulation zone clearance for its Mundra Special
Economic Zone, a huge industrial hub where it also plans to
build an effluent treatment plant.
Since investing billions of dollars into an area with large
swathes of marshy wasteland, Adani has transformed Mundra into
an industrial zone hosting India's largest commercial port and
the country's largest privately-owned power plant.
The rapid growth of Mundra, a once-remote coastal town on
the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, has prompted some opponents to say
the local government, then headed by Modi, favoured Adani with
cheap land. Adani denies he has been granted any undue favours.
Adani's rapid ascent to the top tier of Indian business is
often associated with the rise of Modi. Shares in listed Adani
Enterprises have surged almost 70 percent this year,
largely in the run-up to Modi's election victory in May.
Adani Ports' stock closed up 6.82 percent on Wednesday,
outpacing a 1.27 percent rise in the benchmark.
Long pushed by India as a way to encourage foreign direct
investment and grow exports, special economic zones are exempt
from certain labour laws, as well import and excise duties.
(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes, editing by David Evans)