Seer firm on staging hunger strike

Seer firm on staging hunger strike

Pejawar mutt seer Sri Vishweshatheertha Swamiji reiterated that he is firm on his stand opposing forcible acquisition of land from the farmers for Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) project in Dakshina Kannada.

Speaking to the media persons here on Tuesday, he said that the fight against the notification of 2000 acres of farmers land for the project will continue and he would go on indefinite hunger strike from March 6 as announced earlier until the government denotifies the above mentioned 2000 acres of land and drop the proposal to acquire further 70,000 acre land for the second phase of the project.

However he is not against farmers who are willing to sell their land for the project. But the government should not intervene and forcibly acquire the land.  The seer said that many people, who claimed to be farmers, have met him recently and appealed that he should withdraw his decision to go on indefinite hunger strike.

They briefed him that due to decrease in the rainfall all these years and increasing production cost, the agriculture in the district has become non viable and non profitable leaving them with the only alternative of selling their land for the project which would fetch them Rs 10 to 11 lakh per acre in addition to job guarantee for one person in each family, he said.

Last resort

The seer said he will hear arguments from all quarters and get an opinion from all sides, as hunger strike was the last resort. As MSEZ authorities have been facilitated with several provisions by the government, it is mandatory on part of
MSEZ to be responsive for all conditions while purchasing the land from the farmers.

There is no need for the government to issue notification for acquisition of land from the farmers and give to the industries, he said.

Unrelenting

He denied the reports that appeared recently in some section of the press that he postponing his announced indefinite hunger strike against the forcible acquisition of land, yielding to the pressure of the MSEZ, the government and the people who are favouring the project.

He said that the proposed hunger strike was not against farmers who are willing to sell their land, but for creating awareness among the public and demand for review of the government policy on agriculture and the industry. The seer urged that both the Central and State government should review its stand on agriculture and industry so that there should be proper balance between the two. Though industry is essential for economic growth of the state, it should not be at the cost of agriculture.

It is also not proper that all industries be concentrated in one place or district. The proposed industries by the state government should be distributed to other districts also. The government has not yet announced the types of industries that are proposed under MSEZ project and jobs guaranteed for those families loosing their land.

As Mangalore is identified as most polluted district in the state, it is not suitable to set up more industries in the area, he said and added that industries should not be promoted neglecting agriculture. There should be proper balance between the two.

Let government shift the proposals to infertile land elsewhere, he said. He informed that there was no response from government side and the Chief Minister for his letter intimating about his proposed hunger strike, he said.

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