Chiranjeevi supports farmers’ agitation against SEZ

September 26th, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 26 (IANS) Telugu superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi Friday supported the struggle of farmers affected by the Pharma Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Polepalli in Mahbubnagar district and hit back at the Congress government by branding it a “land broker”.The chief of the newly-floated Praja Rajyam Party visited the village, about 80 km from here, met the affected people and promised to return their land if his party was voted to power in the next year’s state assembly elections.

Chiranjeevi said if voted to power, his party would return agricultural land acquired for all SEZs in the state. “No agricultural land will be acquired for any SEZ,” he said.

The actor, who visited the distressed weavers in Sircilla town last week, Friday drove to Polepalli as part of his effort to understand the problems faced by people. The affected people poured out their tale of woe as he went from door to door to interact with them. He later participated in a sit-in along with the farmers to demand that the government return their lands.

The villagers alleged that of the 1,000 acres acquired by the government from over 300 farmers in 2002, only 155 acres were earmarked for the Pharma SEZ. They said they were paid compensation of a mere Rs.18,000 per acre against the market price of Rs.1 million.

Chiranjeevi alleged that the real estate business was being done in the guise of SEZ and that the government was acting like a “land broker”.

Pointing out that of 256 SEZs sanctioned in the entire country, 54 were coming up in Andhra Pradesh alone, he alleged that the government was acquiring land of the poor at its own whims and fancies and gifting it to the rich.

“The rich should pay for the land they want to take from the poor. The rich should make sacrifices for poor but in this state it is the poor who are making sacrifices for the rich,” he maintained.

Calling for a review of the SEZ policy, he said SEZ developers should be asked to acquire land without the involvement of politicians.

“The government should come out with details like the number of industries that have come in these SEZs,” he demanded. He told the farmers that he was not like other politicians who have visited them and assured that the situation would soon change and their problems would be solved.

A section of the farmers, however, was not satisfied with Chiranjeevi and said he failed to take a clear stand on their demands.

Chiranjeevi, who launched the political party last month, visited Sircilla town in Karimnagar district last week to express solidarity with families of weavers who committed suicide.

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