Kalam laments HR violations during SEZ land acquisitions

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) Former President A P J Abdul Kalam today hailed the relief package of Rs 65,000 crore for poor and marginal farmers in the Union Budget presented last week but lamented human rights violations when affected farmers raised voice during land acquisition for SEZ projects.

Addressing the inaugural Mother Teresa memorial lecture at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here, Dr Kalam said he was happy that the 2008-09 Budget has made provision for relief package for the farmers. ''These efforts will give relief to the farmers to some extent, but certainly we should lift the small nd marginal farmers and farm workers who are falling prey into the hands of money lenders due to complexity in the bank loan process,'' he added.

He said nowadays the country was witnessing a turbulent situation emerging out of SEZ and farmers' land acquisition issues leading to human rights violation when the affected farmers raise their voice. ''While SEZs are essential for the country's development, handling land acquisition for SEZs has brought many issues and put the entire growth potential in that intended region on the back track,'' he opined.

He suggested that the government or the industry, instead of acquiring the fertile land from the farmers on government rates may make the farmers as their partners in the SEZ projects and give them equity share holding with reference to the overall project cost, according to their land ownership in the market value today.

He wondered whether farmers could be protected from committing suicide. He suggested making the farming community empowered with a system oriented approach to double their productivity.

The memorial lecture was first in the series of Mother Teresa Memorial Lectures initiated by the Chair on 'Health and Social Welfare' instituted after signing of an MoU between IGNOU and Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI). The subject of the inaugural lecture was 'Giving dignity to human life'.

After delivering the lecture, Dr Kalam also released a book on 'Diploma in HIV/AIDS.' UNI NAB SY PM2014

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