The state government has said the Centre has been satisfied with the outcome of the public hearing regarding the Mangalore special economic zone (MSEZ) and a final meeting on the crucial environmental management plan (EMP) of the project has been fixed for February 28. "If we get the approval after the Thursday's hearing, work can start on the project,' Karnataka Governor's advisor Krishna Kumar informed Deccan Herald. The meeting will be held by the technical committee of the Expert Committee for Infrastructure Development and Miscellaneous Project, set up by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The farmers have been opposing the acquisition of land. They have urged the Government to reject the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) report on the project. According to the advisor, a total of 1,750 acre, out of the 2500 acre needed for the SEZ, has already been acquired. "The government has issued notification for 300 acre for acquisition. We are discussing the issue with the farmers,' he added. On the public hearing, Krishna Kumar said the Union ministry has prepared the report on the EIA of the project and circulated it to the gram panchayats. "The GPs wanted the copies in Kannada and we have translated and given these copies. The ministry has concluded that the public hearings were held as per law. The meetings were held in January and February. Now the technical committee will hear the EMP. If we get the approval after the meeting, we can start work on the project. We have come a long way in the last 2-3 months regarding this multi-product SEZ,' Kumar stated. Promoters The Rs 35,000 crore SEZ is being set up by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) as anchor co-promoter using a special purpose vehicle owned by its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), which will hold a 46 per cent stake. The other equity-holders are the Karnataka Government, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited. ONGC would hold 26 per cent of the equity in the incorporated company. The State government would hold 23 per cent and the balance 51 per cent would be jointly owned by KCCI and IL&FS. The New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) is understood to have shown interest to join the SEZ, subject to approval from the Ministry of Shipping, Road and Transport. If NMPT joins, the combined equity of KIADB and NMPT would be 23 per cent. The MRPL has envisaged projects such as an LNG terminal, C2-C3 separation units and aromatic and olefin complexes in the petrochemical component of the SEZ. The SEZ will also include a refinery, a power plant, a gas terminal and a pipeline.