Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

…more than courage it takes WILL to stand up against injustice !

Call for united stir against SEZs

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Hyderabad, March 10 2008: HYDERABAD: The country needs People’s Economic Zones (PEZs) and not Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and a united national struggle is the need of the hour to stop the proposed 800 SEZs in the country, according to human rights activists and anti-SEZ activists.

Speaking at a national seminar ‘SEZs and Human Rights’ organised by the Human Rights Forum (HRF) here today, Delhi-based independent economist and civil rights activist Aseem Shrivastava said that the SEZ Act was introduced in Parliament on May 9, 2005 and was passed within two days. ”The House discussed 42 provisions of the Act in one day. When the 42nd item was being discussed only seven MPs were present and the Act was passed taking their consent,” he said.

The SEZ Act was passed when the economy was growing at 8 percent per year. Dr BR Ambedkar had clearly said that gram panchayats and urban municipalities can plan their own economic growth in Articles 243 and 338, he argued. According to him, people were not aware of the SEZ Act and its implications. As per the Act, SEZs are foreign territories where the local law would not be applicable. The 800 proposed SEZs are all located on fertile lands displacing around 2 million people in some 500 villages.

To fight this and for having the Act scrapped, there should be a united struggle in the country, he said. Goa Bachao Abhiyan activist Praveen Sabnis said that farmers cannot be asked to join the struggle as they were already under the impact of SEZs. It is the middle class and professionals from all walks of life who should join hands for the cause. The biggest tragedy of the Act is that it is ”unconstitutional” and the Goa Government is least bothered about. ”What the Goa Government speaks is different from what it does,” he said.

Extending support to the farmers of Kakinada and also those who were affected by the SEZs in other States, Praveen Sabnis said that people should fight against the government. Since there is not much support from the media for the cause, the issue should be kept alive with various activities that can be projected on the web. There were people who were monitoring such issues in the world, he said and called for effective use of the Right to Information Act to adress the problem.

Earlier, HRF vice-president S Jeevan Kumar introduced the speakers and general secretary K Balagopal translated their speeches into Telugu.

Source: Indian Express

Mar 11, 2008

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Written by dilkibaatein

March 15, 2008 at 7:08 am

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