Chhindwara SEZ: Farmers object environmental clearance to developer
New Delhi, June 04: The affected farmers of Chhindwara Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on Monday opposed any move to grant environmental clearance to the developer company- Chhindwara Plus Developers Limited.
The Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board organised a public hearing programme at Sausar Rest House on Monday wherein the people were invited to register their objections, grievances, if any, in this regard.
Madhya Pradesh Government officials, police officials, and SEZ affected farmers of Sausar attended the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, farmer leader Nandkishore Dhoble not only registered strong protest against any move to grant environmental clearance to Chhindwara Plus Developers Limited but also highlighted the irregularities and corruption in the said SEZ.
Talking to One India over phone from Sausar, Dhoble said that it seems the programme was organised just to complete the formality as the government officials just listened to us like mute spectators and didn't discuss the corruption issue.
He said the farmers have a video recording of the programme so that the government officials should not send a fabricated report to the Union Environment Ministry.
"We have clearly warned the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board officials that if the environment clearance is given to the said company then we will move to the court to hold corrupt state and Central government officials accountable," Dhoble said.
He also said that the farmers are planning to launch a hunger strike as the concerned government officials have not initiated any action against the said company despite the order of Chhindwara collector.
Thousands of farmers of Tehsil Sausar of District Chhindwara have been running from pillar to post from last 11 years to get back their land from Chhindwara Plus Developers Limited, which they accuse of purchasing thousands of acres of their fertile land in the name of setting up the SEZ since 2007 at throwaway prices.
One of the affected farmers Dhoble has become Right to Information (RTI) Act activist and has been waging a war against the unholy and powerful alliance between the company and certain government officials.
He has substantial documentary evidence, obtained through the RTI, which suggests how the said SEZ became an alibi of purchasing agriculture land by flouting government rules and regulations under the then Congress-ruled central government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh.
Interestingly, it was during Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's tenure as Union Commerce and Industries Minister, the company had got in principle approval in 2007 for one year to set up the SEZ in Sausar.
Farmers allege that since then the company has got many extensions of the said in-principle approval without setting up a single unit in the said SEZ, but has been successful in purchasing around 6000 acres of farmland by flouting SEZ rules.
The company had got final approval to set up SEZ on August 29, 2016. The said approval is valid for a period of three years, i.e August 29, 2019.
The farmers are determined to get back their land from the Company and say that actually the Chhindwara SEZ is a real estate scam.