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TN CM comes out for SEZs, not at farmers cost

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Oct 28: Advocating strongly the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today assured that farm lands would not be acquired for establishing such zones in the state.

Reacting to Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder leader Dr Ramadoss's opposition to the creation of such zones for it could affect the livelihood of farmers Mr Karunanidhi in a statement here, said he fully endorsed the view expessed by the PMK leader on SEZs.

''The government will certainly not initiate any action to provide jobs for five people by rendering 500 people jobless,'' he said.

To set up industries in the SEZs, the government would acquire mostly fallow and dry lands and not cultivable lands, Mr Karunanidhi said and quoted late Union Minister Murasoli Maran as having called SEZs as a dream project to facilitate prosperity of the country.

Dr Ramadoss, who had successfully prevented the government from creating a satellite town in south Chennai after launching a campaign that the proposed town would affect the farmers, raised concerns over establishement of SEZs saying it would render farmers jobless.

Mr Karunanidhi said Mr Maran, while wishing to establish a SEZ at Nanguneri, had said if SEZs were not established and facilities not created for industries, the country would be in a dark world. Even while establishing that zone, adequate care had been taken to acquire lands, which were not used for farming activities, he said.

However, the zone did not take off following Mr Maran's death and the DMK's defeat in the then Assembly elections, he said. ''Had the zone been established, it would have been a boon for the entire southern districts,'' he added.

Mr Karunanidhi said apart from governments' establishing SEZs, some private parties were also buying land on their own at market rates and coming forward to set up industries.

On Dr Ramadoss's remark that the left parties too opposed SEZs, he said it was because in states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, zones were being established after acquiring farm lands.

As long as farm lands were exempted from the acquisition for establishing the zones, Dr Ramadoss and the left parties should have no objection, Mr Karunaidhi said and made it clear that the state government would strictly follow guidelines issued by the Centre for the purpose of establishing zones.

The Central guidelines on September 25 were very clear that no land used by farmers should be acquired for establishing zones. The guidelines wanted state governments to ensure that lands acquired for SEZs were dry and fallow, Mr Karunanidhi pointed out.


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