Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

Chiranjeevi finds fault with SEZ policies of previous regimes

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– By Suresh Krishnamoorthy

Polepalli (Mahbubnagar dist.): Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi on Friday launched an attack on previous governments for not considering the interests of farmers while establishing Special Economic Zones.

Expressing concern over the plight of farmers displaced by the Pharma SEZ here, he said, “While SEZs are essential as they spawn industrial development, they cannot be set up by depriving poor farmers of their land.” As many as 56 out of the 250 SEZs in the country were in Andhra Pradesh, and it was regrettable that they were carved out of fertile lands owned by poor farmers. “It is not real development when it is achieved at the cost of hungry stomachs.”

Mr. Chiranjeevi spent over three hours in the area where the government had acquired about 1,000 acres in Polepalli, Mudireddipalle and Gundlagadda Thanda in Jadcherla mandal for the Pharma SEZ in 2001-02. Two companies are putting up their facility and only 153 acres is in use. He also visited the houses of three displaced families.

Addressing an impressive gathering from atop a vehicle under blazing sun, the actor-turned-politician drew applause when he said that farmers had become labourers after acquisition of their land. He said farmers cherished the small piece of land that they could call their own and were so sentimental that elders would be buried in a corner of the holding.

Asserting that his party would stand by the displaced farmers led by the Polepalli SEZ Vythireka Samiti (Struggle Committee Against Polepalli SEZ), he demanded that the government allocate alternative land and houses to them, apart from paying an additional sum of money in tune with the rising land prices. Farmers who lost their lands were not reaping the full benefit considering that allocation of SEZs invariably led to a real estate boom.

He said it was a pity that the governments were overlooking the interests of the farmers.

(Courtesy: The Hindu 27th Sept 2008)

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