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Indiramma: Medha Patkar bats for the poor

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Galvanising the poor: Medha Patkar participating at a function in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Galvanising the poor: Medha Patkar participating at a function in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

Meets Chief Minister to seek his response to ryots’ problems

HYDERABAD: Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar wants the State Government to implement Indiramma, its massive housing programme, “not as builder-based” but as one benefiting the poor in all respects, making them participants in the process.

She met Chief Minister Y. S . Rajasekhara Reddy at the Secretariat on Thursday seeking his response to problems faced by farmers whose lands have been acquired for SEZ in Kakinada. She also wanted inclusion of 805 tribal villages in the agency in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

Ms. Patkar appreciated that the State Government had taken up construction of 80 lakh houses but stressed that their construction should not be builder-based as in Maharashtra where the rich thrived in the name of serving the poor.

Musi project

Allotment of lands to the rich must be made on the city outskirts as they could afford staying far, but the poor should be provided accommodation within the city. In this connection, she criticised the displacement of 500 families by Musi project.

She said over 4,100 acres of lush green fields, spread over 16 villages near Kakinada, had been allotted to the SEZ much against the announcement made by the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson that agriculture land would not be used for SEZs.

On Polavaram, she said the benefits expected from a big project could be ensured through smaller ones at different places, and in case of Polavaram, through three lifts. She said she was, not however, opposed to ONGC taking up drilling operations on agriculture lands in the Krishna-Godavari basin. “The nation needs oil and gas”.

At a dharna by urban poor at Indira Park earlier, Ms. Patkar asked them not to accept the beautification plans of Governments for cities as they were sought to be taken up at their cost.


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