Friday, October 3, 2008

Why wasn't this done earlier?

My blogs have suffered a drought for a long time without any new posts. I have been busy with other things that my blogging has taken a back seat. But once again the time kick start the habit.

I havent been following about the disputes in Singur , the site for the ambitious Nano car project. Honestly, I was under the impression that this was a routine war between progress and conservatism and all these politicians need is an issue of this kind to turn on the people against any development activity until i came across this article in Outlook. This article was interesting in the sense that it presented a view directly dil se from the farmers. The farmers in the region of Maharashtra, where Reliance was to start its proposed Special Economic Zone(SEZ) project, have voted in a referrendum and have shown thumbs down to the proposed project. Something a first of the kind in the country.

Some of the points to be noted are:

Reliance was to take 45 villages covering 10,000 hectares of Fertile Agricultural Land in the District of Raigad for the Purpose of this SEZ

Reliance have offered to pay Rs 10 lakh per acre.

Some section of the people are demanding a crore per acre with a mandatory 12.5% share ofthe developed land and 99 years lease instead of an outright sale. This is only a minor section of the people with the major section of the people a firm "No" to even such a deal.

The reason. The part where the SEZ is proposed is a lush green picturesque region of the Konkan belt, studded with Mangoes and chikoo orchards. It is also a major rice producing region. Also there is a construction of a dam which is to be over any time.
Farmers ask
"For years, we in the command area have waited for this water. Now that it's almost here, why sell our land?" . And there is a sense of genuineness in the question he asks. For it is their land which we are after.

If such a referendum of sort had been taken in Singur , alteast part of the problem could have been solved or we could have known what exactly the affected people wanted.

Note: Even as I was writing this article, there were news flashes that Tata has officially pulled out of Singur.

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