Medha opposes thermal plants, SEZs on fertile Punjab soil

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Patiala, Nov 30 (UNI) Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) leader Medha Patkar today termed the setting up of thermal plants and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) on the fertile land of Punjab as ''illogical''.

Talking to UNI here, the noted social activist explained that it was not a ''wise step to set up thermal plants or SEZs by acquiring the productive land of farmers.

She advised that thermal plants should be set up by Punjab on its own or jointly with the Centre or state government near coal mines in states like Jharkhand and supply should be routed through the National grid for providing cheap power.

Moreover, Punjab already had three thermal plants and setting up more would only disturb the environment of the state, she opined.

She also criticised the setting up of SEZs or industries on agricultural land in any part of the country and termed them as 'Special Exploitation Zone'.

Ms Patkar also expressed solidarity with farmers of Punjab, saying it was unfortunate that though they had filled the food basket of India, they themselves were forced to commit suicides and offered them her services for any of their cause.

She also criticised the linking of rivers across India and exhorted people to come forward to stop implementation of the plan to inter-link its river basins.

The NAPM leader calimed that by linking river basins, the country will be pushed towards another 'Kosi-like' havoc.

While denying that she had plans to join politics, Ms Patkar said, ''We are very much in politics to promote the fight against multinationals and social and economic deprivation of downtrodden.'' She said that the NBA would continue its Movement, which had begun as a fight for information about the Narmada Valley Development Projects and continued as a fight for just rehabilitation for the lakhs of people ousted by the Sardar Sarovar Dam and other large dams along the Narmada River.

The social activist was here to attend the marriage of Simpreet Singh, a Mumbai-based social activist and NAPM leader.

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