sez-2In a move that could create history in India, 22 villages of Raigad will participate in a referendum to protest against compulsory land acquisition for Mukesh Ambani’s Special Economic Zone. Despite 22 villages around Hetwane Dam going on record against the SEZ, CM VRD led government is playing all for the capitalists compelling the farmers of 22 villages to fear whether the referendum or voting for the Mukesh Ambani SEZ will be fair and just? This sabha being held in Raigad is not an election campaign but a rally to unite all farmers across 22 villages of Raigad that will be wiped off if the state has its way and Mukesh Ambani’s Maha Mumbai SEZ comes up here. These rallies were being held everyday ever since the Collector announced the historic referendum to decide the fate of the proposed special economic zone (SEZ) in Raigad. When NMTV visited the 22 villages, there was fire and determination in the farmers to fight the state and the capitalists. And if the state is thinking that they can fool the farmers or lure them by offer hefty compensation packages, the state should think again. Farmers say that making one man the owner of all their lands is unconstitutional. Proposed to be spread over 10,000 hectares, the Maha-Mumbai SEZ is expected to bring an investment of nearly Rs. 40,000 Crore and generate 20 lakhs jobs. The state is shouting from roof tops that this would mean development and progress for the farmers of 22 villages, courtesy Reliance. Top cabinet ministers of the Democratic Front government are engaged in backdoor negotiations with local leaders to weaken the ongoing agitation. However, when the state saw that the farmers were too united to be corrupted, it decided to double the compensation amount – from ten lakh rupees per hectare to twenty lakh rupees per hectare – for the farmers who stand to lose their land. Farmers informed NMTV News that Reliance agents were visiting the villages and offering Rs. 10, 000 for each positive vote. Farmers of Raigad who will be affected by Mukesh Ambanis’ Maha Mumbai SEZ say that they will loose more than just land. It may be recalled that these 22 villages had gone on an indefinite hunger strike under the leadership of N D Patil during the state monsoon session, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had asked the protestors to take back the strike and assured that their land would not be taken for SEZ. But farmers say that the Chief Minister lied and cheated the people of Maharashtra as the very next day of the announcement they, they received notices of compulsory eviction of their land. Activists and farmers say the state is only for the capitalists and against the poor farmers of the state. Now, the farmers have lost faith in CM VRD led government and doubt whether the referendum to decide the fate of Mukesh Ambani SEZ will be fair and just? With global warming and beyond human control natural calamities across India, it is time that all the rich, powerful and greedy bide under the rule of nature rather than acquiring massive land in the name of development from the poor, needy and helpless. From Raigad, with cameraperson Vikrant Baile and Archana Tripathi, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.


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