TODAY -

People, SEZ and Development
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: February 19, 2014 -



The recent sit-in protest organized by landowners likely to be affected by the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project in Kakching has once again resurrected the debate on paths to be charted meant for States and Region considered less developed.

The protest was launched against the decision of the Government to acquire 450 acres of prime agricultural land between Kakching Lamkhai and Kuraopokpi in Thoubal District for the construction of the proposed SEZ.

The committee members claimed that they had submitted several representations to the State Government to revoke the decision on the acquisition of the land and pointed out that the green signal to the project was given without the knowledge of the landowners most likely to be affected.

It may be recalled that the land for the proposed SEZ was inspected by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry recently. The Committee members were reportedly prevented from meeting the Union Minister leaving the members unable state their case.

One of the reasons for opposing the proposed SEZ project is the claim that the area to be acquired is productive land yielding huge quantity of crops annually. During the sit-in-protest, the committee had also made it clear that if such an area was allowed to be acquired, there was the fear of facing food scarcity impacting on the livelihood of the farmers.

With such developments taking place, it is now the responsibility of the State government to ascertain the claims of the committee besides making public the assessment report if there were any.

Here, it should be reminded that any form of policy announcements linked to agricultural land and future development of the people should also be based on consensus which is a primary requisite for any path undertaken under a regime considered democratic.

Bypassing issues raised by the farmers would only lead to confrontation without bringing in a solution.

While charting a course for the development of the citizens, it is of paramount importance to solicit the views and also allay certain fears in the minds of the people.

While such an issue can be considered minor hiccups to the grand designs on growth driven development, it will only be fare to reassess the concept of SEZ which would best benefit the people of the State.



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