1,000 hectares to roll Disneyland, Vegas, Hollywood into one.
In a trailblazing move, the Subhash Chandra-promoted Essel Group is developing a 1,000-hectare entertainment special economic zone (SEZ) near Mumbai.
The group will invest Rs 500 crore in developing the zone that promises to be Disneyland, Hollywood and Las Vegas rolled into one. The land for the venture has been identified in the Gorai-Manori-Uttan region, near Essel’s existing amusement park at Mumbai.
The group has sought the Centre’s permission for the SEZ. Confirming the development, Ashish Kaul, vice-president (brand), Essel Group, said, “We are finalising the plans and are looking at various options to build it.”
The options include setting up of a recording studio, an animation studio, editing facilities, uplinking and broadcasting facilities, resorts and amusement parks. According to sources, Essel may also look at developing parts of the project in partnership with other companies.
By locating the venture in an SEZ, Essel can avail of 100 per cent income tax exemption for the first five years and 50 per cent for the next five years. For five years after that, it will get income tax benefits on its re-invested income. It will also enable the group to import equipment and machinery free of duty.
The export obligation of the SEZ will be fulfilled by catering to a large number of overseas tourists who will be required to pay in foreign exchange.
“Foreigners can dock at the SEZ, use the facilities and go back,” an official in the ministry of commerce said. Indian visitors to the SEZ will have to pay in rupees and will also be required to pay taxes.
Essel’s proposal is among the ten large SEZ proposals that will be taken up for consideration by the Inter-ministerial Board of Approval at its next meeting on March 17.
In all, the board is expected to look at 70 proposals during the meeting, the first after the notification of the SEZ rules in February.