A day after the empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) came out with its observations on the Special Economic Zones to be set up in the country, Mamata Banerjee slammed the Centre and said that the UPA government was playing with fire by not protecting the interests of the farmers in its latest recommendations on SEZ.
According to Mamata, the recommendation of the eGOM was an eye-wash and its suggestions were nothing new since most of what the GOM had proposed on Thursday already exists in the Special Economic Zones Act 2005.
“I guess the UPA government is in a hurry to clear some SEZs as the UP elections are close. But let me tell you they are playing with fire. No protection has been recommended for the owners of the farmlands and the homesteads, whose lands would be acquired for the SEZ. What’s more, it says nothing about the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894,” argued Mamata.
Mamata said she still stood for the abolition of the SEZ in the country. For, Mamata believes the SEZs would affect the business opportunities of the small-time and medium entrepreneurs seriously in the long run.
She argued if the Centre really believes that farmlands should not be taken for SEZ then the UPA government should ask the Left Front government in Bengal to immediately return the lands of the farmers in Singur where the Tata Motors is setting up their plant.
“I am not against globalisation and economic reforms, but it should not be done at the cost of the farmers and the poor people, and their few decibels of land. We want industry and agriculture to go hand-in-hand, but for that it is imperative for a State government to have a land bank, land map and land-use plan,” said Mamata.
“But this Left Front government has nothing. Instead it is using cadre force and police to displace the farmers from their lands. Even now people of Singur are demonstrating there and in Nandigram, the CPI(M) has again started firing at the innocent people from the border areas,” alleged Mamata.
Criticising the Centre for turning a blind eye against the CPI(M) atrocities at Nandigram, Mamata said initially the CPI(M) cadres were trying to enter Nandigram from Teghara in Khejuri and now they are trying to force their way through Kanungochak in Khejuri.
“I won’t be surprised if there is another massacre in Nandigram. Situation is very volatile and tense. Villagers are being terrorised by the CPI(M) cadres and the cops are mere spectators there. Give us peace CM, not bloodshed again,” said Mamata.
To protest against the forcible acquisition of lands at Singur, Mamata said the farmers of Singur who have not given their lands to the State government on their own free would stage a dharna at Esplanade on April 11 and April 12.
“On April 13, I am holding a meeting at Shahid Minar here for taking up the cause of the displaced people of Nandigram and Singur,” said Mamata.