Staff Reporter

Different groups join hands

Government urged to abolish SEZ Act

Meet calls for united fight

BERHAMPUR: Members of different anti-displacement groups of Orissa got together in the city on Saturday at a state-level convention against displacement and proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the State.

The convention was organised by the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) and tribal organisation Lok Sangram Manch (LSM).

The participants at the convention included leaders and representatives of anti-displacement movement at Kalinganagar in Jajpur district, Prakrutik Sampad Surakhya Parishad of Rayagada which is opposing the proposed Alumina project at Kasipur. Anti-displacement movements at lower Suktel project area, proposed Cheligada hydel project area in Gajapati district, power plant project of Zindal group in Angul district were also represented at the convention. Some representatives of the families displaced for the now shelved steel plant project of Tisco near Gopalpur and villages that that may be displaced by proposed atomic power plant near Patisonepur of Ganjam district also participated.

Demand

Leaders attending the convention like national president of the AIKSM, G. Divakar, its general secretary, Ashis Mittal, convener of Lokshakti Abhiyan, Praful Samantra, convener of Lokpakshya, Rajendra Sarangi, urged all anti-displacement activists of the State to involve in continuous interaction to join hands so that their agitations do not become sole voices in the affected areas alone. They asked the government to abolish the SEZ Act of 2005 and the continuing anti-people land acquisition Act.

D. Kalundia of Visthapan Virodhi Manch of Kalinganagar said united fight of the common mass can stop the governments getting sold out to multinationals, which is seen through the continuous approval of SEZs in the country. According to Mr. Samantra, the SEZs are also being objected by industrialists like Rahul Bazaz as it would give rise to monopolies and corruption.

The participants of this convention felt drastic reduction of agricultural land in the name of industrialisation by multinationals as well as establishment of SEZs would only lead to large-scale direct and indirect displacement of agrarian population of the country whose voice is never heard at the corridors of power. Most of them criticized the government for calculating only the direct displacement without taking into consideration the displacement that would be caused by destruction of environment and cultural habitat. “It may lead to a drastic class war in India,” cautioned Bhagaban Sahu, a social activist.