''Goans Against SEZ'', launches sit-in strike

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Panaji, Nov 23 (UNI) Scores of volunteers under the banner of ''Goans Against SEZs Front'' comprising political parties and NOGs today started a sit-in ''dharna'' in the city demanding scrapping of the SEZs in the state.

Prominent among those who participated included BJP Goa unit president Shripad Naik (MP), several party legislators, members of the Shiv Sena, Goa Suraj party and others besides several women and youth.

Significantly, noted Goan pop singer Hema Sardesai, who refused to perform in the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) joined the movement by singing to the tunes of the agitators.

She also shouted slogans against the Digambar Kamat-led government, which she said, resorted to earmarking SEZs as part of promoting the real estate business for selfish gains.

Former minister Mathanhy Saldanha, who was the convenor of the Front said that the movement would not be stopped till the government heeded its demands including scrapping of all the SEZs, approved and notified.

The agitators said the SEZs were against the interests of Goa and Goans as they fuel influx of outsiders besides draining precious resources such as ground water, electricity and land.

They had also debunked the claim of the government that the SEZs would provide employment to more than 9 lakh people, even as the population of Goa was 14 lakhs now, thus benefitting the non-Goans.

The agitators displayed placards, wore black badges and caps with ''no to sezs'' written in the red letters on them. They also exhibited two coffins at the venue saying Goa would be dead if the SEZs are realised.

The agitation, undertaken amid tight police security arrangements, coincided with the inauguration of the 11-day, 38th edition of the International Film Festival of India.

UNI

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