Thursday, September 28, 2006

SEZ: farmers plan satyagraha

Farmers in the Raigad district of Maharashtra are planning a satyagraha to oppose the Reliance SEZ. The SEZ is planned for 10,000 hectares and will affect 45 villages in Pen, Uran and Panvel talukas.
Savita Subhash Thakur, a gram panchayat member from Chirner, said: "If we give up our land, what will we eat? They will not give us any jobs, and finally we will have to give up our homes. People are willing to sacrifice their lives to oppose this SEZ. Our land is productive and fertile, why should we give it up for a private company?"

The people first came to know about the project through a notice in a local paper on June 19. It said land was being acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for a public project, namely the SEZ.

The company or the Government did not inform them or take them into confidence, said Santaji Gondhali. "What's wrong with our area. We have two crops, education, plenty of water. Since the city is close, we do get jobs too. Why does the Government want to take away all this?"

Ironically, the government has declared SEZ's to be public utility projects, without making the public part of the decision making process.

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