CM to consult cabinet colleagues on scrap-SEZs demand

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Panaji, Nov 12 (UNI) With the opposition from both political parties and non-political outfits mounting, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has decided to consult his cabinet colleagues on the works related to sanctioned Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the state.

Mr Kamat gave this hint to an 18-member delegation of the ''Peoples' Movement Against SEZs'' that met him today, demanding scrapping of the SEZs forthwith as they were ''anti-Goan''.

Headed by former minister Mathanhy Saldanha and backed by the BJP, Goa Suraj Party and Shiv Sena besides, several NGOs like Utt Goenkara, the delegation also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister.

Mr Kamat told the delegation that he will study the ''legal implications'' also if the Government decides to freeze the two already sanctioned SEZs besides, taking the collective opinion of the cabinet colleagues of the coalition government.

The delegation has warned the Government of launching a state-wide agitation if it fails to respond positively by November 20 even as another purely apolitical body christened ''SEZ Virodhi Manch'', a conglomeration of different non-governmental organisations, also issued a similar treat in case the state government fails to freeze all SEZs by November 17.

Interestingly, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had also joined the issue with anti-SEZ outfits toay, demanding scrapping of all the SEZs, lest it would bring the matter to the notice of the NCP high command.

Goa NCP supremo Wilfred De Souza, in a hurriedly convened press conference, said Goa cannot afford to spare huge tracts of land to non-Goans for SEZs. He also debunked the claim of the government that the SEZs would provide more than 9 lakh employment opportunities.

All the anti-SEZ outfits, including the NCP have also demanded a probe into the SEZ land allotment scam to expose the culprits behind it. They have been reiterating that the SEZs will not benefit Goa or Goans but constrain the already scarce resources such as land, water and electricity besides, encouraging influx of lakhs of migrants from neighbouring states.

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