People in general and members of various organisations staged a dharna at Nehru Maidan here, opposing what they described as the Government's move to take away the basic rights of the people to live comfortably, in the name of industrialisation, urbanisation and other development projects.

They urged the Government to denotify the 2,035 acres of land notified for setting up industries under the second phase of the Mangalore Special Economic Zone project.

Demands

The Government should return the 15 acres of land acquired from the Kudubi tribal people at Permude village in Mangalore taluk and pay them compensation for the losses they suffered so far. The Government should not permit any industrial expansion in the coastal belt, they said.

They opposed the Netravati diversion project, saying it was unscientific and would deprive the people of their rights over water and endanger marine wealth.

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, claimed that the State Government was trying to amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act. According to it, if a farmer failed to repay a loan, his or her produce and/or property could be confiscated.

He termed this a “very dangerous” move and added that the Government would not be allowed to make this amendment.

Mr. Chandrashekar wanted to know why the Opposition Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) were not raising their voice against the amendments proposed.

He claimed that there was also a move to abolish job-oriented courses in the State. Those who had taken up such courses were from economically weaker sections. Winding up such courses would deny the children from such families an opportunity to become technicians, he said.

The head of Sandeepani Ashram, Kemaru, Esha Vitaladasa, called upon the protesters not to stop their fight against the MSEZ.

John Fernandes, Professor and Head, Chair in Christianity, Mangalore University, and Moulana Yahya Tangal of the Hawwa Jumma Masjid, Bolangady, spoke. Nagarika Seva Trust, Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Vedike, National Fisheries Forum, Dalita Abhivruddhi Samiti, Dakshina Kannada Parisarasaktara Okkoota and Karavali Karnataka Janabhivruddhi Vedike had organised the protest and a rally from Ambedkar Circle to the maidan that preceded the dharna.

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