People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 15

April 15, 2007

SEZs - Ugly Haste And Dangerous Portents


The CITU secretariat issued the following statement on April 6, 2007.


THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) expresses its strong disapproval to the recent decisions by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on SEZ and demands that the government must not act on their decisions without changing them.


The set of decisions is virtually a licence to form a State within the State, a new kind of zamindari system in which the land, properties, facilities and administration are owned by big corporate houses and they become the real masters. It is naïve to believe that the Development Commissioner’s writ will pass in the secluded “Estates”.


Thousands of workers will be working in the SEZs and CITU always demanded that the owners of SEZs must abide by all the laws of the land, particularly all the labour laws and these must work under the authority of the government. The government has not only abrogated its responsibility and allowed pockets of anarchy to be in operation, inspite of the fact that such an omnibus permission is against many laws of the land like Urban Land Ceiling Act etc.


The Reserve Bank of India has firmly opined that these are real estates that do not deserve “infrastructure status”. We apprehend that the EGoM’s silence means approval to give them infrastructure status which will enable them to get cheaper loans. Such gratuity of this scale is unheard of.


It defies any logic why revenue of about one lakh crores of rupees are being given away as bonanza to big corporate houses by a single stroke while this government is hell bent not to give interest on Provident Fund even at the market rate, which will cost only a couple of hundred crores.


The government has to answer to the non-SEZ producers why big corporates should enjoy such privileges and benefits that denies them a level playing field.


The ominous portents are that the government is inching towards converting the entire country as SEZ without any labour laws and other legal obligations thus leading the country towards anarchy. 


The CITU cautions the UPA government that this discrimination and appeasement of big private corporate houses shall not pass. No wonder that people’s discontent is getting manifested at political level as the recent election results are showing.


We demand that there should be no action on these decisions before the matter is thoroughly discussed at all levels.