Sezs : a Solution or Yet Another Problem...

By: Propertiesmls

One major issue that has been in the headlines during the last several months is the controversial issue of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The whole SEZ matter has taken a very ugly shape acquiring Maoist and Naxalite flavour which is very indicative from the happenings of Kalinga Nagar, Singur and Nandigram. The innocent people dying between the clash of so called economic/industrial development and the farmers for survival.

The political implications of trying to catch up economically with China through SEZ policies which exempt private corporations from labour legislation, environmental regulations and tax laws which apply to the rest of India has been quite evident from the recent turmoil in certain areas across the country. Further, the competitive structure of Indian industry is expected to get distorted by SEZs as every industrialist and entrepreneur would want to establish itself into an SEZ to catch up and out do the competitors.

All these incidents were sufficient enough to initiate PropertyVertical to do a research study on SEZs. An attempt has been made to look into the concept of an SEZ, the approval and the exemptions granted to them, the list of approved SEZs, the investments made, exports earned and employment generated as well as projected; information released by the Ministry of Commerce, with SEZs' implications on the local residents along with all the recent developments on SEZs.

Revolt/Mobilisation against SEZs:
The incidents arising due to the land grabbing, involving the transfer of huge quantities of both agricultural and urban land to giant corporations has lead the SEZ issue a burning topic in not only news but in politics too. The opening of year 2006 witnessed the Kalinganagar firing in Orissa, killing 12 Adivasis protesting against the acquisition of their land at throwaway prices for the construction of a steel mill.

The events at Nandigram on March 14 ,2007 in which it is still a mystery as to how many people were killed, how many raped, how many still missing. All this lead to the scrapping of the 10,000 acre SEZ for the Indonesian Selim Group and the CPM's hasty retreat from the area.

Also there were emergence of popular mobilisations against SEZs, especially in Dadri, near Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, and in Haryana and Maharashtra.

There are investors in other parts of the country who are looking for a reinstatement of the original SEZ policy of the government. There is, for instance, the South Korean steel transnational POSCO, slated to bring the largest-ever foreign investment into India ($12 billion or Rs 52,000 crore, in order to access cheaply some of the best and largest iron ore deposits in the world) and waiting for the Orissa government to complete acquisition of the 4,000-odd acres of land in Jagatsinghpur district. The acquisition has been stalled not merely by the central government's recent policy of suspending the clearance of SEZs (before April 5) but also by the fierce resistance the state has faced from three local tribal villages who are defending their heritage in a way no less zealous than the peasants of Nandigram fought for theirs.

If the farmers are continued to be displaced and uprooted by these zones, it is evident that there is bound to be serious discontent and political trouble for the ruling State governments.

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Source:

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