Saturday, December 29, 2007

So SEZ the people!

A couple of weeks ago, the SEZ protest 'wagon' rolled into Chinchinim. The Central government has proposed and approved seven Special Economic Zones in Goa. Just fresh (or fatigued) from a battle to revert the disastrous Regional Plan 2011, the people of Goa are now up in arms against the establishment of these zones. The logic is simple, say the protestors. Lakhs of jobs will be created and taken up by outsiders. Ten lakh 'bhaile' alongwith their dependents will swarm into Goa. The demographics of Goa go for a toss accompanied by physical and cultural erosion that will destroy the Goa that we know today. Goans become an endangered species.


The truck here has been modified to act as a mobile meeting platform with chairs, a mike stand and lights. The activists wait for a crowd to gather at the Chinchinim market square. "Tumi uloupachem re, ami uloun uloun jaam zale!" tells an activist to a villager. Dramatic graphics with slogans like 'Jaag Goenkara' and 'Don't sell Goa, Preserve it!' set the mood. .

A ravenous gorilla with pierced nose, eyebrow and tongue glares hungrily from the rear poster. A look at real estate websites like shows that a villa in Goa can fetch almost a crore. Goa is hot property today and everyone wants a piece of the pie.

News reports say : "The Goa Movement Against SEZ (GMAS), which has been demanding scrapping of all special economic zone projects, on Sunday threatened to intensify the agitation if the State government failed to scrap the projects.
The GMAS comprises the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Goa Suraj Party and activist-groups.
Besides the GMAS, the SEZs were being opposed by the Goa Church-affiliated Action for Social Justice and the Goa Bachav Abhiyan, which spearheaded a successful agitation against the controversial State Regional Plan 2011."

"Last year on 18th December on the eve of Goa liberation day (Goa was liberated from the Portuguese rule by the Indian army on 19th December 1961) Goa Bachao Andolan's (Save Goa Movement - GBA) massive rally in the capital city of Panjim brought down the state government to its knees. The GBA successfully fought to scrap the controversial regional plan of 2011 which sought to convert large acres of agricultural and forest land for settlement purposes.

One year down the line the Goans are again fighting to protect their land this time from the monster of SEZ which has come to haunt them. Come Friday 14th December Goans will be meeting in South Goa- Margao – to raise the banner of protests against the SEZ in the form of a massive meeting. ...."

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José Lourenço - Margao,Goa

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