Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

Polepally farmers reject fake house deeds !

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Land deeds distributed to the polepally farmers

Land deeds distributed to the polepally farmers

Today farmers held a dharna (protest) in front of RDO office with the so called ‘house pattas’ thrust on them on Saturday. About hundred villagers threw the ‘pattas‘ (land deeds) and told the officials that they cannot be cheated with cheap tricks.

The patta of house sites are in the name of APIIC. According to the deed, the farmers cannot sell these house sites or gift to anyone, they are not the owners of the house sites. They are at the mercy of the APIIC forever and have to live there as witness to the mushti (alms) of the APIIC. Houses will be constructed the way APIIC likes to build. What a great charity to donate a house patta of 200 yards from acres of land that is grabbed from the owners. Ekaraalu gunjukoni gajaalu dhaanam chesudu! Oouraa emi telvi ! (you grab hundreds of acres of land & give us few yards, wow hats of to you !)

Mallu Ravi, the local MLA, is worried now when farmers realized that these are fake pattas, he thought he won the game of distributing pattas and compromising the people. He thought that was the end of Polepally struggle. Just throw one biscuit and its over. He was there yesterday midnight also with his gang, trying by all his means and sources to split the unity of farmers. But the villagers rejected the Pattas saying that they are fake and not on their name.

Farmers never demanded houses. Fortunately they have at least some roof now. No one knows that this is also another game to take over their existing houses in the name of development or the existing village is also planned to be occupied tomorrow. Anything is possible. They may plan to lift all these poor who lost their lands and put them in these shelters. Or else how after 4 years they are so concerned of the farmers housing who are starved and chased away and attacked and jailed. One can easily understand why they started distributing ‘house pattas’ which was never a demand. Of course it was one of the promises of the rulers and that was only on paper for years till the Public Hearing was held the other day (07th August 2008). We all know it is the result of Public hearing and the fear of people exposing all illegal acts on which the SEZ is built.

Suddenly APIIC, District Collector got so much of love on Polepally. Today they called the farmers to Collector’s office. They did not allow the media. Fortunately our friend & film-maker Vanaja was documenting the protest. Collector objected her and told her not to shoot. Lady Collector took all pains to convince farmers with APIIC proposal. The final deal she tried to sell is that APIIC will construct the houses spending about Rs 50,000 per house

Why District Collector and the MLA are hell bent on protecting APIIC or the SEZ lords while they are supposed to be serving the people? It’s a pity that very big officials and the elected representatives are working as the representatives of the SEZ.

Finally, APIIC MD told that they will give Rs 60,000 towards construction of houses and asked the farmers to open bank accounts so that they will deposit this amount. MD also told that farmers have to give in writing that they will not be engaged in any protest in future on this issue. They also told the farmers that outsiders (like me and MadhuKagula) are misleading and spoiling them to lose all the help that are offered by the government. But the farmers told that they know who their well wisher is and who is cheating and looting them. ‘Vaallu cheyabatte ivvaala mammalni pilpinchi maatlaadutunnaru’, (it’s because of them, that you have called us to your office to negotiate) the farmers told.

Farmers have refused to listen and not agreed with APIIC or District Collector in any regards. The Polepally victims are planning to protest in front of the company soon, as they want to stop the ongoing APIIC construction.

The victims’ only demand is for the APIIC to give their lands back. When the farmers asked Collector to give them back their lands, the answer is ‘NO’. The officials are worried and forcing farmers into compromising and surrendering to the tricks of SEZ lords. More and more people from different sections are joining hands with Polepally struggle.

Polepally movement against SEZ is showing the total picture of ‘Development Process’ the present state administration is projecting in the mainstream. How farmers and the rural vulnerable people are cheated employing various (malpractice) techniques designed overnight by the great officials and the peoples representatives.

Presently the promise of ‘land deeds’ in case of Polepally is just a sample. The outcome of other projects like Polavaram, Narmada etc and the process by which they are being built on the lives of thousands uprooted people is an open secret. Did the victims ever get compensation in Srisailam, Hirakud or Narmada project? Is there any rehabilitation? Is there any new life for them? Are they benefited with so called ‘Development’? The answer is NO.

Long live farmers! They are not going back in spite of many pressures and offers. They resolved to strengthen the struggle for getting back their lands

Let’s extend all our support to the Polepally struggle for justice !

Jai Telangana!
Surepally Sujatha

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