Friday, January 26, 2007

AIKS wants state-level caps on SEZs

Posted online: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

NEW DELHI, JAN 24: Concerned by growing public ire against SEZs in West
Bengal, CPI(M)’s farmers’ wing, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) demanded on
Wednesday that state-level zonation teams be formed to assess the
fertility and character of land.
They have also demanded the Centre to introduce state-level caps on SEZs
as only “some states are gaining by the SEZs.”

On the invitation of the Parliamentary committee on commerce, headed by
Murli Manohar Joshi, AIKS presented its views on SEZs before the
committee. CPI(M) politburo member and general secretary of AIKS K
Varadha Rajan led the two-member delegation which also consisted of
former MP and CPI(M) central committee member Nurul Huda. CPI leaders AB
Bardhan and D Raja also met the committee on Wednesday.

“We are concerned mainly with the land. That is why we suggested that
every state should constitute a state zonation team consisting of
agronomists and soil analysts.

They must study the fertility of the land and fertile land should be
avoided as far as possible,” Huda told FE after the meeting.

On the numbers of SEZs, Huda said the Centre should bring state-level
caps on SEZs as other states also should benefit from them. “Earlier,
there was a cap on SEZs.

After the government removed it, only some states such as Maharashtra,
Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu became the beneficiaries of SEZs. This
uneven distribution will harm the interest of other states,” Huda added.
The CPI, on the other hand, told the committee that it should advise the
Centre to check the proliferation of SEZs. “The government should not
give out any fresh SEZ proposals.

Four hundred and four SEZs in a country is quite a big number compared
to the international total of SEZs, which is below 1,400,” Raja said
after the meeting.

The CPI, which even locked horns with the CPI(M) on SEZs in West Bengal,
also demanded the Centre to come out soon with a national policy on
rehabilitation. The AIKS asked the Centre to amend the Land Acquisition
Act drafted by the British in 1894.


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