Fishermen, farmers of Uttan, Bhayander protest SEZ plan

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Mumbai, Dec 18 (UNI) Farmers and fishermen from Uttan, Bhayander and the nearby areas have launched a protest against the state government's decision to create a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the area.

Representatives of the Catholic Christian Secular Forum, Gorai Machchimar Samiti and Machchimar Sahakari Sanstha told a press conference here today that the residents of the Gorai Uttan belt are opposed to the Pan India Paryatan Limited's, a subsidiary of the Essel Group, to set up a SEZ in this area.

Joseph Dias, the General Secretary of the Catholic Christian Secular Forum said the residents are not ready to give up their fertile land and their only source of livelihood for the SEZ and will fight tooth and nail till the end.

The Uttan Gorai belt, which is also known as the Dharavi Islands, is made up of ten villages and the General Secretary of the Dharavi Beth Bachao Samiti, Lourdes D' Souza said, ''The Essel Group owns some of the land around the Gorai, out of which 700 acres was gifted to them by Narayan Rane in 1996, when he was the Revenue Minister of Maharashtra and the same has been challenged in the High court.'' Ms D'Souza said the residents are also opposed to the State Government's decision to set up a judicial academy in Uttan on the land owned by the St Joseph's Trust in Uttan. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the academy by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh will be opposed, she added.


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