Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

The Beginning of the End !

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Visited Polepally today with Vanaja and Vipul. Both are making documentary film of the struggle process. Their interest is inspiring. They plan to make a film of the struggle challenging the SEZ lords by people who are not sure of next meal. It will be a story of resistance movements in India. An account of heroic people’s challenge to globalization that’s making our society numb like killer tsunami.

We could not meet the farmers, now turned into laborers in Aurabindo SEZ pharma, Hetero drugs SEZ Pharma units. It took about four hours to meet them and exchange a word after passing through series of firewalls and interrogations. I felt like I was doing a crime and would soon be thrown into a jail with the SEZ security guards asking million questions and following us every second. Suspicious eyes haunting us perpetually. SEZ pharma walls have grown up big like jail walls. It now hides the deaths and missing laborers. Villagers don’t know if someone who went inside in the morning ever returned later or where he went there from?

Its pathetic to find the villagers begging for wage labor and they are lucky if they get two, three days a week and they have to listen to military like supervisors who wouldn’t allow them to talk to a villager for a few minutes. ఎవరు తొంగి చూడడానికి వీలు లేదు. బయిటపక్షి లోపలకు పొయ్యేది లేదు. లోపల పక్షి బయటకి పొనీకి లేదు. జైలు జీవితాన్ని తలపించె దుస్తితి పచ్చని పొలాలలో మొలిచిన జైలు గొడలు – pharma SEZ.

SEZ supporters must see how pathetic and violent the situation is on the ground. The main road is cut off from the highway because the company is trying to make some culvert. We took another route to reach Polepally. There we see a leather park as well, which is also under construction and is being built on the land grabbed from the villagers without paying anything. No one speaks of the nonsense because it is meant for “public purpose“. Public that is like Egyptian mummy one does not know where it is to be found. But its referred by one and all.

Recently the construction wall collapsed and some migrant workers were seriously injured, no one knows where they were hospitalized and how are they now. Madhu did inquire about their whereabouts but in vain. That’s the fate of SEZ laborers.

Surprisingly there is a huge orchard next to the road allotted to Nagarjuna group.

There is some public referred by the courts, bureaucrats, APIIC, and they refer to it as a ghost that’s supposed to be known to everyone. Perhaps the public now means imported pharma Reddy’s, Hetero drugs, Nagarjuna group or even a SUKM University and the purpose is good enough to make the local people cease to be public.

 SEZ land acquisitions have made poor farmers the sacrificial goats carefully avoiding every inch of land of a dominant caste farmer in Polepally.

SEZ construction spree is going very fast and the ex-farmers turned into laborers are divided between the two companies -Hetero and Aurabindo pharma. We were objected from meeting the villagers working in the SEZ. These workers are bonded laborers and the SEZ is like a Nazi camp and no outsider is allowed inside.

The “HR officer’ didn’t allow us to meet the farmers. Previously, we used to meet villagers at their work place. HR chap asked us to take permission from their DGM who is sitting in Hyderabad and he is not answering the call. Workers cannot even meet someone during their lunch time.

Somehow we managed to meet Lachu Naik, Kurmaiah. Others waited for an hour to come out to meet us but couldn’t meet. Group of workers from other SEZ came out at 1 O’ clock noon and we went to meet them. There also the security guards threatened them of losing half day wage if they meet any outsider.

Some villagers came and sat outside the construction site. Jabbar, the farmer, who also lost his land spoke to farmers that they have to think of strengthening the struggle. Madhu and I discussed recent Singur developments. Villagers came with questions and suggestions of taking forward the struggle

They all agreed to take up Satyagraha in front of Construction site, many told that they are not getting regular work in the company and once the construction is over they will be thrown out. They said instead of building the SEZ jails that keep them off from the pharma estate they protest (dharna) and stop the construction work. Some farmers are going to an Anti-SEZ national meet at Chennai to discuss the Polepally struggle

Old farmers and women have talked of their lives becoming miserable. They remembered their previous days in that place, they thought of trees, wells and animals, their peaceful lives. Current life is very hard to digest. Is it the frustration or helplessness? Suffocation and suffering is widespread.

We had just 15 minutes before 2.00 p.m to catch up other group in working in Hetero Drugs. Workers there finished their lunch and were waiting for us while the group from Aurabindo SEZ didn’t have any lunch as they were talking to us. They probably had to starve for the rest of the day.

A crazy form of SEZ development is going on in Polepally. A farmer becomes a laborer in his own land, a worker does not have any safety at workplace and cannot even see a visitor or have lunch a few minutes after the lunch break is over.

No wonder if the villages are wiped out and the villagers and their life is killed soon.

On our way back to Hyderabad we got a call from the villagers informing that Mr. Narayana and Mr. Chada Venkata Reddy of CPI visiting Polepally on their way to meet Sonia Gandhi who is to visit Rayalaseema today. CPI leaders promised their support to the struggle.

Jai Telangana!

Sujatha Surepally

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Written by Sujatha Surepally

September 11, 2008 at 7:54 pm

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