SUBIR BHAUMIK The burning down of 9 crude oil tankers in Upper Assam points to a change in equations between rebel groups in India’s Northeast. Indian intelligence agencies now confirm that this violent action was carried by joint squads of ULFA (Independent) and NSCN (Issak-Muivah) guerrillas. But ULFA(I) is in the rebel coalition UNLFSWEA that was…
Hello we go to the Indian state of West Bengal where thousands of farmers continue to protest forcible acquisition of prime agricultural land for Special Economic Zones or S-E-Zs.
In a bid to boost the national economy, India has been promoting this particular model of industrialization based on creating export-oriented tax-free enclaves. The policy of acquiring land for such industrial projects has sparked protests from local communities. They fear land displacement and threats to their sustainable livelihood. Critics say S-E-Zs are likely to create few benefits, including jobs, in relation to the number of people they displace. They will only benefit businesses through undeserved tax breaks and other concessions at the expense of the public.
Nowhere in India has there been a stronger reaction to the establishment of Special Economic Zones than at Nandigram a primarily agricultural area about forty kilometers away from Kolkata. Nandigram is the site of a proposed ten thousand acre S-E-Z to be developed by Indonesia’s Selim Group. Since January 2007, at least two dozen people have been reported dead and many others injured in violent clashes between protesting farmers and the police backed by supporters of the ruling Communist Party of India–Marxist or CPI-M. The CPI-M leads West Bengal’s left front government and is seeking to accelerate the development of industrial projects in the state. At a recent anti-S-E-Z rally in Nandigram, farmers spoke to Subhra Kanti Gupta