SEZ voting results: State put on notice

PEN (RAIGAD Dist): Farmers' leaders and representatives in Pen taluka have lashed out at the state for continuing to remain a "mute spectator" des
pite an overwhelming opposition to SEZs. According to them, the dissatisfaction of the landowners had come out in the open during a referendum held last month.

At a press conference held on Monday, president of Peasants and Workers Party N D Patil showed copies of the referendum forms collected from the land-holders who had voted in Pen to prove that over 95% of the farmers were against SEZ.

"Why is the government not declaring the referendum results? They should now withdraw the notifications served to farmers under the Land Acquisition Act," said the 82-year-old PWP leader, who has been campaigning against SEZ since 2006.

Of the total 6,199 voting forms received by the Raigad collector during the referendum, 5,866 voted against SEZ. Each form contained multiple land-survey numbers and plots belonging to several members of a family or land account holders).

So of the 23,959 individuals who were eligible to vote during the September 21 referendum, a whopping 19,868 farmers had participated in the voting process. The representatives also stated that if the state does not act on the referendum result by October 21, then they will once again start a non-violent agitation against SEZ.

The leaders also rapped CM Vilasrao Deshmukh for "mischievously" trying to declare Pen as a ‘green zone' if it is opposed to SEZ.