Today Polepalli had dialogue with Maharashtra activist, Mr. Vilas Sonawane, working President, Lok Shashan Andolan, Maharashtra , involved with SEZ movements in India, specially in Maharashtra and West Bengal, visited Polepalli and shared his experiences. Mr. Goutham, Convenor, Mahajan Party, journalist and writer also joined. Vilas shared his struggle experiences against Reliance group in Maharashtra which is the first hub of SEZs.

He explained how dangerous these SEZs are to society and the Nation. His visit is significant because his experiences reveal success of arresting SEZs in Maharashtra. It is also important because he shared strategies from experience that are vital to current situation of Polepally.

He told that Govts and Capitalist markets, mafia become one combine in acquiring lands of the poor. He presented the methods and modus operandi from the SEZs across the country. Current process of SEZs in Maharashtra and AP are very much inter related, he said. If SEZs are established in Maharashtra they will stop two water resources to our state, i.e, Godavari and Krishna, as any SEZ requires lot of water. Godavari originate there and water wars start in both places. If they stop the water in Maharashtra, whatever local water resources are there in AP will be stuck with current SEZs and there will be huge water crisis. “Sawaal jal ka hai”…Regarding Land, the acquisition of land is always near water belts or near highways, only of the voiceless people. The land will not be under control of Govt after selling it to any company. It’s further hazardous to people if it is a pharma company. ‘Sawaal jameen ka hai”, he remarked.

Vilas heard from farmers and women, youth, and elders of Polepalli. He told that he has never seen such cheating in SEZs in India. “There is total fraud, injustice in this. Its nothing but exploiting helpless villagers”, he told. “Surprising and shameful is the fact that all political parties are together in duping, looting and killing the villagers here. And this is very unique of Polepalli of all SEZs that one can see in India”, he said.

Kurmaiah, local farmer, asked why do Govts need our lands, are they beggars? Cant they manage without our lands? Even if they have acquired lands from us, why are they selling to other people? Are they Govt or brokers? The essence of the question raised painfully by Kurmaiah demands answers from every sections and group that claims to be people oriented

He also asked another important question. Even if they take back their lands after all the hard work of generations, who gave right to take their plantations in that land? Do they plant them, water them and care them? His agony is that even if land is given they will not get back the trees which they looked after like their children.

We also visited Gundlagadda Thanda. We had exclusive discussion with women, widows, young mothers and laborers. All the cultural issues came up. Very pathetic to understand and listen. Yadamma, with her co-sisters said that they got married her only daughter to a boy who lives in nearby village six months ago. She sold their land for one lakh rupees and gave some of their long time savings of their kaaya kashtam. All other family members also contributed as much as they can. Within three months her daughter was kicked out and sent back to parents by her husband. Major reason is that they dont have land any more and that they cant support her any longer. The daughter is back and all the joint family members are aghast with this tragedy. They dont know what to do with situation.

The relationships which are interwoven with land are at stake today. Culture largely dependent on land is at cross roads. They do not have convent schools, globalized culture and gender knowledge to settle their problems. There are no words to explain the agony of widows and older, single women, their stories are endless.

Polepalli people never had debts in their own farm lands. They always had good crops of jonnalu, sajjalu, ragulu, kandulu, thaidalu..All healthy and traditional foods and rain fed crops. They dont even know how outside world is changing and becoming mad and dragged into the fold of mafia.

Its a shock for all those who just thought of giving good education to their children. None of the villages here affected by SEZ have a graduate or an intermediate. Polepalli is just a hundred kilometers away and can any one imagine the fruits of so called ‘development’ are unknown to people here.

Someone told that they were promised 3 lakhs per acre and different people, based on their abilities and background, got different rate for their land. The highest price is 50,000. No one has any explanation why there is variance and so much difference in the land prices each of them were awarded in the same village. There are women, who did not receive any thing. There are men who got minimum. And there are people who refused to take any money. Mr. Abdul, lost 15 acres and didnt take any money from Govt. He still cultivates though. “The question is who is the person who promised this 3 lakhs rupees? and who is responsible for such different rates of land in the same village?’ asked Vilas

Mr. Vilas talking to the media demanded:

  1. There should be a Judicial enquiry.
  2. Current market price to the people who are willing for compensation or the land for them.
  3. The stand of people’s organization in these issues. Gaddar and other groups’ stand on SEZ is questioned.
  4. File RTI, as no one has any paper or document on how they have acquired the land and what was the basis of acquisition.
  5. Also sue the govt with personal affidavits and challenge them in court, on cheating and deceit.

Plan of Polepalli people about nominations and election process is going to change the nature of entire political system. Its going to put Polepalli on national agenda, alert other parties and also tell the world how powerful role people can play in elections.

Mr. Goutham said that in this by elections all the political parties should come out with their policies on SEZ. How can any party pretend to ignore such a big issue and claim that they are going to protect poorer sections of Telangana?

I shared my views on how ‘development’ has become people‘s major enemy. What is it and for whom, which section it is going to benefit and at what cost so many lives have to be sacrificed. If such development is necessary why can’t they take rich people’s land? Some of them have hundreds of acres. Are ‘Pharma’ companies for development or destruction? How come Congress Govt claim that it has women’s empowerment on its agenda when in reality it is making mahilalu into widows? What is the use of Congress talk of 25 paisa loans, buffalos, scholarships and loans to women who are made widows? Is making women widows or beggars the real policy of government today? What is the stand of Telangana organisations and varied forums on this issue?

Where are 3 and half crores and more than 30 T organisations? Madhu Kagula told that Telangana is not different from its people and its dying people and starving people. What stops any Telangana organisation from supporting Polepalli farmers? he asked May be they are innocent, ignorant but they have not sold yet their conscience and commitment. If there are a few here and there, they did only to feed their starving kids and to save someone form death. Even those people are ready to stand with Polepalli struggle till their last breath.

They are also planning for public meeting. The expenditure I already mentioned in earlier mail. Please leave inhibitions of who is leading the movement, who will get what and so on. Lets support the struggle and lets say we dont approve deaths of tens of our farmers and that we dont pretend ignorant of this SEZ raaksasatvam

Friends, they want to question political system, why cant each one of us support a candidate there. More number of nominations, more ripples in the system, more debate and expose anti people policies. Its not really a question of gaining a MLA seat or defeating a candidate. It’s a protest against injustice.

Lets all support, expose the issue, injustice meted out to them, let us also caution all other farmers that one day some one will come overnight and grab their land also and overnight there will be death in all these villages in the name of development. Anything can happen

For everything, what all we can do is mobilizing the resources, being with them morally and financially. Please respond at the earliest

Jai Telangana,

Sujatha Surepally