Mangalore, Jul 13, 2011: After the additional deputy commissioner handed over a government letter pertaining to the denotification of 1998 acres of land notified for the second phase development of Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ), Shri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejawar Mutt called off his fast.
Addressing reporters at a press conference held today, the Pejawar Seer spoke about the UPCL problem and urged the committee studying the effects of UPCL on the environment to submit its report by Oct 2.
He urged the committee of seven, comprising environment experts such as Y. D. Ramakrishna and K. V. Ramchandra, to submit an unbiased report and warned that, if the report states that UPCL is dangerous to the environment, he will intensify his fast.
Expressing his happiness over the denotification of land acquired for the second phase development of MSEZ, he said that land should also be denotified in North Karnataka. Urging the government not to set up industries at the cost of agricultural land and the farmers, he said that government should take the example of Gujarath, which is developing rapidly, but not at the cost of farmers. He also said that industrial development should take place only on barren land.
Denying that the government had bowed down because of him, he said that he had only supported the farmers.
Speaking about the land acquired from the Kudubi community, he said that this matter will be handled separately and that justice will be done.
The Swamiji also said that he is ready to join the fight against the Posco Steel Plant if the protestors sought his help. A large number of jubilant farmers burst crackers in celebration.
MSEZ victims speak
Mangalore, July 13: MSEZ victims Korgu Gowda and Malappa Gowda said that they are not interested in development because they do not have any money, adding that all they want is to be allowed to live in peace on their own land.
Expressing confidence of getting back their land, another victim Shymala said that the Swamiji will surely see that justice is done. She said that the victims will fight for their land to the finish and said that MSEZ should not have commenced work on their land when the case is going on in court. She said that the rice and vegetables they used to grow on their land took care of their daily requirements and that they are now scared to venture out of their homes for fear that their houses will also be acquired.
Advocate Madhukar Amin, the convener of Karavali Karnataka Janabhivriddhi Vedike, said that the struggle commenced 4 years back and that government representatives used to give oral promises, but nothing in writing. He said that the victims now have hopes because of the efforts of Pejawar Swamiji.
He also said that companies should build their factories on barren land and not agricultural land. The government has taken the wrong decision by acquiring 32 acres of agricultural land, but now it will have to take back its decision under the guidance of the Swamiji, he said.
William D’Souza, the vice president of the agricultural committee, said that his 15 acres and 53 cents of agricultural land have been denotified thanks to the Swamiji. He also added that the family wishes to keep Swamiji’s photo inside the house and worship it.
Lawrence D’Cunha, the secretary of the agricultural committee, said that he has got back his 18 acres with 450 jasmine plants on it. His jasmine garden had broken all records in the district and he is happy that he can continue working with his jasmine plants again.
The victims said that they will continue fighting till they get all their land back.