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India-US Forum discusses SEZs

February 14, 2007 16:42 IST
The dilemma over acquiring of farmland for special economic zones without hurting the interests of the farmers came up for discussion at the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians organised by Asia Society in New York.

A six-member Indian Parliamentary delegation agreed that SEZs needs to be implemented in a manner that takes care of the interests of the farmers while facilitating growth in the economy.

In a strong criticism on the concept of SEZs, Dinesh Trivedi, General Secretary of All India Trinamool Congress, questioned the rationale of taking lands from the poor and handing it over to the corporations.

Participating in the discussion at a function attended by investors, academics and economists, Congress MP Sachin Pilot said a way has to be found so that the farmers, whose land is taken, "are not hurt and left helpless".

Robert Kharshiing, a Rajya Sabha member, said that while there is a general agreement on SEZs, the real issue is how best to implement it. He wanted it to done in "a transparent manner". A suggestion was made that the farmers whose land was acquired be given equity in the projects.

The leader of the delegation, B. J. Panda, said some feel that the SEZ would jump-start the development but others argue against it. He stressed on the need for transparency and opposed undue haste in sanctioning SEZ projects.

Dharam Shourie in New York
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