Thursday, October 18, 2007

SEZs VS Farming Lands

An economically booming India has approved proposals for at least 180 Special Economic Zones but has been hit by protests in several states because many of the approved sites are on prime agricultural land. India is a land of farmers, the land provides livelihood security for 65 per cent of the people, and the farmers provide food security for 1 billion. Economic development has resulted in loss of agricultural land to industrial projects. Policies driven by corporate globalization are pushing farmers off the land, and peasants out of agriculture. This is not a natural evolutionary process, It is a imposed process. The farmers are being forced to leave their fertile lands promising jobs in the concrete SEZ jungle but what the government fails to realize is that these farmers are already self sufficient and are in a way also helping feed others in the country.

Lands under cultivation are shrinking, as a result, India's food grains harvest is far from rising to meet the demands of a growing population.Wheat production has come down from 76 million tonnes (MT) in 1999-2000 to 74 MT this year. Substantially below the 76 MT target, it has impelled the government to import 5 MT of the grain for the second consecutive year.Majority of farmers of India is looking of their land sovereignty and food sovereignty. A food secured India is in the hands of the farmers.

I am not against industry and progress but please, spare our agriculture fields. It is stupidity to take over fertile lands for Industrial development.I strongly agree that industrial development is important and that SEZs can help in this cause. However government should plan the SEZ, where acres of land available which are not fit for agricultural.