Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

Polepalli struggle achieves graveyards and sympathies

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Today Ms Manshi Asher, activist from Gujarat, working on SEZ issues visited Polepalli. We had meeting with women and those who contested in the recent assembly by-elections. We talked to these people at their work place, pharma construction. Manshi spoke to them and documented the experiences and atrocities they suffered from the beginning. She also shared her experiences from other SEZs in Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Maharastra. She had boosted confidence of the local people to challenge unjust forces. She appreciated the strength and the struggle put up the Polepally people. She told that tragedy witnessed in Polepally is full of violations of many laws.

Anti SEZ Polepally people’s organized dharna after Venkatamma’s attempt to suicide. People demanded guaranteed wage labour at least to arrest starvation and suicides. Villagers protested engaging outsiders in the daily wage works while the locals are starving. As response to the agitation the APIIC went to the village and took stock of people who lost their lands and are solely dependent on wage labour. Subsequently some of villagers got daily labour in the company immediately. The local employers are still playing games with innocent women and men by not giving proper wages even after working for a week. They are asked to join after few days if the construction starts in next plot. This is creating lot of conflict between the villagers. APIIC also said that they will give housing plots, no one knows where and how.

For the people who think that SEZs are giving employment and going to increase the economic growth, Devanna Goud gave answer that he lost 12 acres of his land, total family members had lost 160 acres on the highway. They were promised security guard post (2500/-each) for six members. He didn’t go for one month due to his daughter’s marriage, and when he went back he lost his ‘post’. He approached Mallu Ravi and the MLA spoke to APIIC and somehow he is back to work. But the employer asked to share 5 members salary among six members, now they are getting 2,000/- per head. What a brilliant brain! He also said that they dont have any holidays and not sure of their future once the company’s construction is over.

People demanded several urgent needs and measures for survival and justice.

Looks the appropriate time to talk about SEZ has come NOW. There is much awareness and concern suddenly demonstrated in different forms. Government is also rising to the occasion. Selective blindness some groups had for all these months is washed off with by-elections.

Government yesterday sanctioned 4.50 acres (four and half acres) land for graveyard (smashanam)’ for Polepalli. Is it to say that the death of Polepally is certain or that it’s required before they can get a square meal? APIIC-the future is here, is the sign board appears on the wall with Big letters.. so thats the future of Polepalli farmers..DEATH

Gundlagadda thanda was given 6 acres land for the graveyard just before elections. Now the Mudireddypalli village may also get a graveyard for all that people have lost so far and are like to lose in the near future. One doesn’t know what logic the government has in granting the graveyards while looting their land that is essential for food security

Granting graveyards to Polepally may stand as the most noble gesture of the authorities who are approached by poor people for food and work to earn their meal with dignity.

Sivanna says that no coolie is equivalent to their earlier life. cooli kuppa kadu, leki chata kadu, he says they never bought vegetables from outside. One farmland gives food to many households and workers. They felt secured and assured when they see rice or jowar bags in their house. They never had problem of food security. Their ‘satisfaction’ and sense of security of life when they see rice bags that they had. “Now we get tears when we are buying everything from shops”, he says. Even daily wage of hundred rupees is not at all sufficient to live when we go to buy all provisions form the market, he told

Samsyalaku, jeevithalaku samaadhule samaadhaanaalu kaavochu. Elinavari vignathaki johaarlu.

Is death is all that SEZ is going to stand for?? We know that SEZ has taken more than forty lives. Several more people who lost more than 1000 acres of land are reduced to beggars and are close to death. SEZ also witnessed, in many other areas, groups who find it lucrative to market into a project. Polepally SEZ is also like that.

SEZ dourjanyakaandalo savaalu kooda laabhasaatiga maarinaayi. Polepally savaalu ipudu padhi mandhiki panikoche chitrmayina mudisaruku. Kaavalasinavaariki kaavalsinantha. So government may have thought of making deaths flourish by ensuring there is no problem for the burial ground!

Government is clarifying its understanding of the Polepally priorities. There are NGO type ideas floated recently. Creating awareness and research and other things may globalize Polepally and meet some needs of some groups. Lip sympathy political groups and NGO type peripheral activities are not the priority now. Needs of the people on the ground are urgent and they cannot wait for appropriate time defined by party calculations or project approach.

But people’s demands are different. Anti SEZ Polepally Committee of the local people who have contested the elections against mighty forces of the SEZ mafia have come out with their demands.

People’s demands are

  • Permanent employment in Govt sector/Railways (one person from a family)
  • Ten lakhs per acre as compensation for loss of crops, lives etc.
  • Land for survival
  • Pattas to be given in women’s name.

Polepally Committee plans to undertake the following steps

  • Public Hearing with eminent jurists from media and other fields to fight violation of human rights and injustice meted out to the people of Polepally and suggest measures for remedial action
  • File affidavit against APIIC
  • Online memorandum for National Human Rights Commission to pressurize the government

Friends, please respond to support Polepally victims who are fighting the atrocities and injustice. It is time for extending moral and material support for the people in the villages ravaged by SEZ atrocities

Jai Telangana

Sujatha Surepally

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Written by JayaPrakash Telangana

June 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

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