Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

Latest on Polepally SEZ agitation

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– Sujatha Surepally

Not a day passes by without Polepally issue being featured in the media. Some of these news are about the Polepally SEZ fighters and few are also about how govt. and petty leaders are trying to weaken the agitation.

The Mahabubnagar district Collector is hell bent upon distributing Rs. 70,000 – a part of the hurriedly stitched ‘rehabilitation Package’ after Polepally farmers organized a public hearing (Jan Sunwai) in August. She is using all her tactics to lure the farmers and dilute their fighting spirit. It should be remembered here that Polepally farmers have rejected this so called ‘Rehabilitation Package’ simply because the only thing that the govt is giving them under this ‘package’ is a lease-hold on 200 SQ. Yds of land and Rs. 70,000 to construct a house. The ‘Package’ is a classic case of how far govt’s rehabilitation packages are from reality. None of the Polepally farmers lost their houses for this SEZ. Almost all of them have houses. No one understands why these farmers are given money to construct houses within the SEZ site. It should also be noted that the Pharma companies coming up in the SEZ cause a lot of pollution. And asking these farmers to stay beside such polluting factories is nothing but sadism.

After the recently concluded Bhusatyagraham, MRPS (Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti) and TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) organised a padayatra on 6th October, 08 from Polepally to Mahaboobnagar Collectorate.  Even family members of Polepally farmers participated in the padayathra. Old people were taken in vehicles. In fact, its a real good morale booster to the movement as voluntarily groups, political parties and people are participating and taking up the Polepally farmer’s cause.

The Polepally struggle committee has become so strong that they are taking independent decisions and questioning every political party and group without sidelining their demands.

A member from SC Commission visited the Mahabubnagar town recently and Polepally farmers met him and also demanded the district collector to come and talk to them.  After a lot of hungama, the collector came to see them and said she can’t do anything other than disbursing that 70,000/- towards house construction (that too from Hetero drugs) She hardly gave a few minutes time to farmers.

The padayatra also got good visibility and media focus and it inspired the farmers and instilled new confidence in them. Whenever they see people/leaders from outside come, the farmers will be very happy and encouraged (that’s what I learnt in this movement).

When we went to see them last week, every one was tired with body pains, fever etc but they all came to share their experiences though.

The very next day after Padayatra, the district Collector called few farmers through local BJP leader Shouri Reddy, and LHPS (Lambada Hakkula Porata Samiti). It is very strange that few of the farmers, without informing local struggle committee, went to talk and the great collector spoke almost two hours with them.  This very same collector didn’t have few minutes to talk when the Polepally struggle committee members went to talk to her a day before this incident.

Polepally struggle committee members, who got the information about this ‘clandestine meeting’ rushed to Collector’s office and started giving slogans that she can’t involve ‘brokers’ in such talks.  After some time, collector came and spoke with them that they have no option but to take the Rs. 70,000 and accept the fact that they have lost their land for ever.

She also informed that the leaders of this agitation are benefitting out of this movement and some petty political leaders are also extorting money from her.

It is a shame that a senior bureaucrat can lie so shamelessly. If she has not done anything wrong why is she giving ‘bribes’ to petty leaders? If an IAS officer says that people are extorting money from her, then who will protect the poor hapless farmers?

Polepally women fought with the BJP leader and warned him not to try to weaken the movement by arranging such ‘clandestine agreements’. They also warned him that if his vehicle appears in the village they will burn it.  That ‘leader’ was shocked to see the anger of Polepally farmers and left that place quietly.  Next day he gave an interview to the news papers that he is with farmers and will try till the end to be with them.

Another achievement of the struggle is now leaders are also afraid to take Polepally farmers for a ride. Polepally farmers are managing their issues on their own. This is perhaps one of the significant achievements of this movement.

When we met last week, there were lots of clarifications to make. Lot of questions posed to Madhu and Me.  We did our bit to clarify all their doubts.

The big question before them is how to stop some farmers from taking the Rs. 70,000 money that is being offered. Some weak farmers, some farmers who lost very little land, and some farmers loyal to the Congress party will take this money anyway.

It’s a very painful moment for us to see the rest of the farmers in a helpless condition. There were unending thought processes for future strategies to be adopted.

It was very memorable experience for me to see the growth and confidence levels of farmers increasing day by day to deal with all giants.  Is this not called empowerment? The farmers rose from the depression/suicidal tendencies to become fighters, and warriors in the battle field.


Written by Sujatha Surepally

October 22, 2008 at 10:55 am

2 Responses

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  1. That was a great and unique experience, thanks for sharing it here.

    Siddartha Pamulaparty

    October 25, 2008 at 10:36 pm

  2. Sujatha Garu, Thanks for sharing this article.
    Underlying in this article is the true meaning of empowerment! Spirit to fight injustice! Spirit to Unite against all odds!

    SEZ policy is a treacherous policy in itself. No doubt about it. It should be banned. But, no political party would be willing to do it. We all know what’s going on even in a communist state like WB.

    A new breed of neo-capitalists have started in india…who believe SEZ is a basic first step for development. Any anti-SEZ person is immediately labelled as anti-development. That is the pathetic situation now. People are willing to only look at the gains that businesses established in SEZ will bring in. What these businesses are taking away from society at large is conveniently ignored.

    Even surprising is the government’s response to some issues. 1900 job losses in Jet airways made civil aviation minister to come out with a press statement. Overnight, Jet airways CEO had a change of heart and reinstated all the laid-off employees.

    Then, why are these poor farmers being denied the only means of livelihood for which they are fighting till death..something I do not understand.


    October 28, 2008 at 11:58 pm

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