Tamil Nadu movement against SEZ's marks 24th Anniversary of Bhopal

PRESS RELEASE
Tamilnadu-based Movement Against Special Economic Zones
Sirappu Poruladhara Mandala Ethirpu Iyakkam
3 December, 2008 — On the occassion of the 24th anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, Tamilnadu-based Movement Against Special Economic Zones (Sirappu Poruladhara Mandala Ethirpu Iyakkam) today held a public hearing on “Land and Livelihood Issues in SEZ project areas”. People threatened with loss of land and livelihoods from SEZ projects in Sriperumbudur and Oragadam in Kanchipuram, Nanguneri in Tirunelveli, Ranipet and Panapakkam from Vellore, Cheyyar and Mangal in Thiruvannamalai, and Ennore in Thiruvallur districts. The panel of six eminent people included Mr. M.G. Devasahayam, (retd) IAS, Mr. Louis Menezes, (retd) IAS, Mr. Shanmugavelayutham, a professor from Loyola College, Dr. Neela Valli, Director of Initiative in Women Development, Mr. Vijaybhaskar, a professor from Madras Institute of Development Studies, and Dr. Gabrielle Dietrich of the National Alliance of People’s Movements. Organised by a committee of people’s organisations and trade unions, the hearing was attended by more than 200 people.
The public hearing was held to record people’s experiences with the Government’s land acquisition process, the R&R package and the democratic space for dissent. The hearing is also expected to bring out the impacts of large-scale enclosing and alienation of land on environment and livelihoods, and provide a ground-truth for the claims made by Government and industry on the livelihood benefits of SEZs.
The hearing aims to ensure that important voices, particularly of the vulnerable sections of society are heard. Also, preliminary research indicates that the district administration deploys a range of extra-legal coercive tactics to “convince” farmers to part with their land. The objective of the public hearing is to bring out these silent voices of dissent, and show-case conflicts and people’s struggles wherever they are occurring.
In addition to the hearing, the Movement will also conduct on-the-ground investigations to supplement the information obtained at the hearing, before releasing the report. The final report of the hearing is expected to be released on 18.12.2008 at a press conference in Chennai.
Contact: Rupesh Kumar: 9940159903 and Madhumita Dutta (English): 9444390240
c/o 42A, 1st Floor, 5th Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090

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