Friday, June 12, 2009

Mukesh Ambani and Anand Jain’s Mumbai SEZ project is in legal trouble

Another major struggle between powerful corporate house and poor farmers is looming on the horizon. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries and his childhood friend Anand Jain, promoter, Jai Corp., were planning to build a big Special Economic Zone stretching over 10,000 hectares of land near an upcoming port in Rewas, Maharashtra. The land acquisition process was overseen by Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSL). Recently, the two firms filed a petition in the Supreme Court to stay the Section 4 of the Land Acquisition act of 1894. This act allows the State government to purchase the land for big projects. However, the Supreme Court denied their plea as this whole process goes against regular land acquisition procedure and the interest of the farmers whose lands would be acquired.

Over the years, Indian economy grew at an unprecedented rate but the benefit of that economic growth was not enjoyed by the hundreds and thousands of poor farmers living in villages all over India. You all know about the serious opposition Tata Automobiles faced when they wanted to build their Tata Nano plant in Singur. It is true that the Nano plant would create lots of jobs but the farmers who would have lost their lands would not get any job. The farmers know only one profession, that is farming and growing crops. After acquiring their lands, they would get some money but it would not help them to survive in future. Neither the companies who take over farm lands, nor the government, arrange any alternative profession or give any training to these farmers, so that they could support their families in future by engaging in some other professions. I am very happy with the decision given by the Supreme Court in this case. It is time Indian government and private organizations start giving serious thoughts about Indian farmers.

Related articles:

The Economic Times

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