Residents of Gorai, Uttan and surrounding areas stopped traffic heading towards Gorai for 90 minutes to demand the scrapping of the Central Government Special Economic Zone laws and the state SEZ bill.
“By bringing in such laws the state is taking away land and resources from people who have tilled them for centuries and creating policies favouring industrialists,” said President of the Forum Against Globalisation N.P. Patil.
The state has mooted a new SEZ bill, which will give corporates a 25-year waive off on sales tax, value added tax and registration charges. Activists allege that the Central Governments SEZ bill gives only a five-year waive off.
According to the new SEZ bill, developers will get complete control over governance of the area, privatisation of water and power supply with the right to determine its rates and no jurisdiction of laws except law and order.
Villagers of Gorai-Uttan belt have been agitating against the proposal which will allow setting up of an entertainment SEZ by the Essel Group along the Gorai coast.
The decision to stop traffic was part of a nationwide agitation to protest the SEZ laws. Similar protests have been planned in areas such as Rajgurunagar, Nagpur, Pen, Sinnar and Aurangabad.
“We are opposed to the handing over of our lands and the destruction of the surroundings,” said anti-SEZ activist Gordon D’Souza.
There were more than 100 policemen deputed by the state to avoid any untoward incident. Villagers later dispersed peacefully after voicing their opposition to the laws.