(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)
Pernicious fall out of SEZ will aid in further escalation of agrarian discontent. How the policy makers skip to dread the consequences of the creation of ill conceived economic enclaves at the expense of agriculture, the major livelihood resources of agro-rural sector is something very amazing.
It poses a real threat to our food security. The policy makers have sought to evolve a totally irrational definition of development. In their zest to serve SEZ on a platter to corporate houses and MNCs, they have not applied their discretion at the same time to uphold the importance of agriculture in Indian economy.
We are not against industrialization and catching up with developed nations in terms of international trade but it should never be the policy to achieve their goal by ruining agriculture. Acquiring prime agricultural land for creation of SEZ is foolhardy and reckless.
Wisdom, intelligence and knowledge have no significance if they are not attuned to evolve policies and programmes which would find their applicability in the creation of a welfare society, alleviation of the sufferings of people and for looking after the economic well being of every segment of the society including the peasantry.
It is really sad that instead bringing 5.5 lakh sq. kilometer waste land under SEZ the government is acquiring prime agriculture land for creation of economic zones.
The NDA introduced this policy with commitment to give employment to 10 lakhs people but miserably failed in its commitment and could generate employment only for one lakh people, incurring a huge revenue loss of 1 lakh 75 thousand crores.
Regretfully, the government is working as agent for the real estate companies. 75% of land acquired under SEZ will be utilized for real state purpose and only 25% for business purpose.
Insensitive leadership and rudderless bureaucracy seem to have joined hands to promote the policy of SEZ. It will lead to debasement of rural people causing unending migration to urban and semi-urban belt in search of livelihood.
The UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi has in the right earnest cautioned the ministries and the state governments against acquisition of prime agriculture land for SEZ. Creation of economic zones is fraught with the danger of creating even greater unemployment for millions of farmers.
It is amazing, how the government could even think of brokering the land acquisition deal on behalf of corporate houses and multinational companies. The matters should have been left for direct deal between the farmers and the business enterprises at prevailing market price. An impression should not gain ground that the government is working for the corporate sector and MNCs at the cost of farmers and Indian agriculture.
Rules laid down by the government for acquiring prime agriculture land and various provisions for tax relief to SEZ developers and buyers should be abolished forthwith. SEZ will lead to unbridled loot and plunder by corporate houses and MNCs with virtually no liability and accountability imposed on them. The only looser will be India's agro system and the farmers.
(Editorial : Farmers' Forum Magazine)