The scattered agitations against a string of unconnected Special Economic Zones (SEZ) across the country are close to becoming a unified movement.
Grassroots discontent against planned SEZs of varying scale and purpose, from Nandigram in West Bengal, to Raigad in Maharashtra, is now uniting to agitate on a single national platform.
About 150 delegates from 10 states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal will come together to chalk out a national strategy to get the SEZ Act repealed.
Starting November 25, they will meet at Gorai in Mumbai, in a two-day conclave to be addressed by anti-SEZ leaders including Medha Patkar and veteran Left leader N.D. Patil.
The government’s SEZ policy aims to create specially delineated duty-free enclaves for the purpose of trade, operations, duty and tariffs, with developers getting financial and regulatory incentives. These zones are planned as self-contained and integrated, designed to have their own infrastructure and support services.
“Fighting the SEZ diktat individually does not help much, so we have decided to organise ourselves, since we all have one aim – to get the Act repealed,” said Ulka Mahajan, convenor of the meet, and founder
member of the SEZ Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, a group fighting against the SEZ in Raigad district.
The aim of the convention, Mahajan said, is to formulate a strategy to get the Act repealed.
“I have visited Katnataka and Tamil Nadu, and seen that the situation there is bad. People are kept in the dark while the government is acquiring land already,” she added.