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Agitation if Goa Govt fails to revoke all SEZs: activists

Written by: Staff

Panaji, Nov 10 (UNI) The Peoples' Movement Against SEZs, a coalition of political parties, NGOs and prominent citizens, today warned the Congress-led Digambar Kamat government in Goa of a state-wide agitation, if it fails to scrap all the special economic zones (SEZs) sanctioned forthwith by November 20.

''Our agitation is for scrapping of the proposed SEZs, IT and Food Parks, not for any political gains. We will not rest till they are scrapped,'' convenor of the movement and former minister Mathanhy Saldanha told media persons here this evening.

Earlier, the constituents of the coalition held its third meeting in the capital in presence of Utt Goenkara activist Aires Rodrigues, Goa Suraj Party leader Lobo besides BJP and other leaders and reviewed the situation.

Mr Saldanha said the meeting also decided to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister on Monday in support of their demands highlighting the ''evils'' of the proposed SEZs.

''If the government fails to respond to our damands favourarly by November 20, we will resort to a state-wide agitation. As a prelude to this, we would hold a protest rally followed by a public meeting at Keri on November 14,'' he said.

He said the concept of SEZs was not suitable for a developed state like Goa but for undeveloped and backward areas of other states.

Apart from bringing pressure on already constrained resources such as water, land, power and other infrastructure, the SEZs would invite a terrible influx of people from outside with attendant evils, he said.

Debunking the government's claims that the SEZs would provide employment opportunities to 9,27,100 youths, Mr Saldanha said there were only 80,000 jobless youth and the rest had to be recruited from people outside the state benefitting non-Goans as there was no skilled and unskilled manpower in Goa.

Goa, he said, had already been facing a serious problem with the influx of migrants from neighbouring states reaching three times the population of Goa and the SEZs would aggrevate the situation further.

The activists also took exception to commencement of works related to setting up of SEZs in Verna and Keri, even as they were not included in the Regional Plan 2011 or other plans in the making.

''This amounted to sheer violation of the laws and we doubt the interests of the government in this regard,'' he said.

The government had notified five SEZs even as the Centre had cleared eight and was considering to sanction three more in Goa.


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