Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MUMBAI: BCS Opposes SEZ at Uttan-Gorai

Bombay Catholic Sabha Supports 'No SEZ At Uttan-Gorai' Campaign

MUMBAI, Maharashtra (May 29, 2007) -- Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS), an influential Christian rights organisation, has openly opposed the setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) at Uttan-Gorai area here.

At a public rally held May 25 at Salvation Seva Kendra, the BCS supported the people of Utan-Gorai in their fight against the SEZ being planned in their area for the development of tourism and entertainment.

The various aspects of the proposed zone, the possible ill effects it would have on the people, the environment and the cultural heritage were highlighted at the rally.

BCS president Dolphy D’Souza welcoming the gathering said that the “actual understanding of SEZ is ‘Special Exploitation Zone’.”

He assured the residents of Uttan-Gorai the full support of BCS in their struggle and offered “all help”. There cannot be any development on the debris of humanity, he said, adding that the Sabha would arrange a meeting of Christian residents of the area with the Church authorities to enlist their support for the cause.

He said the Sabha units would start an awareness drive and collection of signatures to protest against the SEZ, besides displaying “We oppose SEZ” stickers.

President of Dharavi Beth Bachav Samiti, Joseph Gonsalves, spoke of the plight of the people in the 10 villages that would be affected by the proposed project -- seven of which are predominantly Catholic and three predominantly Hindu.

The project would ruin the lives of many people and “it would be the first instance of our own elected representatives displacing us and making a ‘foreign’ settlement within the State. The SEZ, he said, would lead to disintegration of the community economically, spiritually and socially and would put into oblivion the haven of rest and recreation for many of the citizens who used these areas to de-stress at the weekend.

Noted writer and environmentalist, Darryl D’Monte, drew parallels with similar movements of the past and the success stories of those groups who challenged the development and managed to retain their identity, culture and society.

Surekha Dalvi from the National Association of People’s Movement said the SEZ proposal was more than a local issue and was essentially a national problem, which called for a people’s movement against the special zones across the country.

Every political party was supporting SEZs and took just two days to get the draconian Act approving such zones passed, she said. (SAR)

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