Citizens Call for Repeal of SEZ Acts

Even as the three day SEZ researchers' national workshop and All India Citizens' Convention Against Atrocities on the People of Nandigram and Against SEZs called for repeal of the Central and State SEZ Acts central government gave nod for SEZ land acquisition.

Union Commerce Secretary G K Pillai has reported to have said that the state government can go ahead with the land acquisition provided the farmers had no objections to their land being acquired.

Since April 5 empowered group of ministers led by Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee came out with a decision, prohibiting the state government from acquiring the land for SEZ, there had been confusion in the state government quarters over the acquisition of land for SEZs in the state.

The Maharashtra government has notified around 10,000 hectares for acquisition in 45 villages of Raigad district for MSEZ.

In a letter written by Pillai on June 1 to the Maharashtra industry secretary V K Jairath, he has said, since state government had started land acquisition process before the EGOM's decision, state government can go ahead with the process but it should not declare final award.

The letter also says, if the farmer has withdrawn objection to the land acquisition process or willingly given the consent, the state government can go ahead with the acquisition of the land.

The Rural Development ministry is working on amending the Land Acquisition Act and also new relief and rehabilitation policy is being drafted by the Centre.

If they are notified before the land acquisition process is completed they will become applicable to the whole land acquisition process for SEZ.

Media houses seem to live in a make believe world and lose sight of valiant movements of Kalinganagar, Singur, Nandigram, Raigad, Jhajjar, Barnala, Dadri, Jagatsinghpur and several other places.

It appeared to the business newspapers that Pillai's statement is a relief to Reliance Industries-promoted Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) but the fact that even non-violent civil society leaders are now calling for 'militant approach' in peoples' struggles against forcible land acquisition for industry is hardly a matter of relief.

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