Mangalore:“Most of the political leaders do not know properly what actually a Special Economic Zone is. It is a country within a country,” said Goa’s Movement Against SEZ leader and former minister Matanhy Saldana.
Saldana was addressing the gathering at a farmers’ convention for rights assertion organised by the Nagarika Seva Trust, Guruvayanakere and the Farmers’ Forum, Karnataka in association with other farmers’ organisations and NGOs against proposed MSEZ, PCPIR and Thermal Power Plant to be set up in the district, at the Urva Market Ground in Mangalore on Tuesday.
Saldana said; “no state and central law and no tax will be applicable for SEZs and they will have their own laws. Citizens who enter into an SEZ will be arrested by the special cops and punished.”
Nobody would be there to pay compensation even if a citizen died due to pollution from SEZs, Saldana said adding that people residing outside SEZs would have live like animals.
“Most of our political leaders are showing great interest to acquire land for SEZs. The government can acquire land for projects upto 30 per cent only and the remaining 70 per cent should be acquired directly by stakeholders”, he said and asked the villagers to vote the party which support the movement against the SEZ.
Saldana said that the government wanted to acquire land for SEZ in Mangalore at Rs 8.5 lakh per acre though the land has a value of around Rs 15 to 25 lakh. Displaced people would be shifted to a place lacking basic facilities, he added.
Saldana alleged that the proceedings of the public hearing on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was manipulated by the vested interests.
“It is shameful that politicians who have responsibility in protecting the interests of citizens do not support people’s movement against SEZ,” he added.
“Even when the neighbouring China is running only seven SEZs, our leaders are keen to establish more than 500 SEZs,” he said and pointed out that when all the SEZs in China were under state hand, leaders in India wanted to make them private venture.
It was because of the unified struggle by the people that all the 15 proposals of SEZs of Goa was cancelled, he informed.
“Power of people is supreme,” he said and called upon the people of Coastal Karnataka to fight against mega industrial proposals including Nagarjuna, Mangalore SEZ and Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR).
Swadeshi Jagaran Manch state convener Prof B M Kumaraswami said that a total of 1.5 lakh farmers in India had committed suicide during the period between 1997 and 2005, of which around 20,000 farmers were from Karnataka alone. “Establishment of SEZs will boost the number farmers’ suicides in our nation,” he warned.
Litterateur Prof Amritha Someshwar also spoke. Nagarika Seva Trust president K Somanath Nayak, Krishibhoomi Samrakshana Samiti president Madhukar Amin, Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha - Hasiru Sene general secretary Sunny D’Souza and environmentalist Sripadre were present.
More than 7,000 participated in the mega rally took out from the PVS circle in the city prior to the convention.
Posted By Altaf Hussain
Edited and Published By Raj Francis Pereira