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Polepalli SEZ – Struggle in dying villages ఏప్రిల్ 23, 2008

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Appeals, livelihoods, Mahabubnagar, Telangana.

Polepalli Struggle and Appeal


– Sujatha Surepally


SEZs. Horrible, inhuman, mad development zones one can ever imagine. I dont know how many of us are aware of these so called SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES as it translates into reality on the ground. I don’t know the theory part of this madness. Andhra Pradesh stands second in the country to accommodate SEZs.  Land is grabbed from the poor for by none other than Govt itself. It behaves like a blood hungry monster. Government operates through several agents who are like paalegallu of factionists or mercenaries of capitalists and transforms into a mafia. For Telangana region its like moolige nakka paina taati pandu padinattu. okavaipu abhivrudhi manthraalu japisthoo maro vaipu prajalanu bichagaallagaa maarche pathakaalu.. adige vaaru evaru leru. Because its SEZ era!! 
I have been regularly meeting Polepalli villagers, who are fighting against pharma SEZ. Polepalli is right there in Jadcherla, not so far away from the HI TECH Shamshabad Airport. My childhood memories of going out of city is to see more greenery, houses and people and the tales of their lives. But now if we go to any national highway, we only have roads. Roads, and ROADS and WIDER ROADS. Don’t know where they lead to? Wider and newer and more luxurious and adding more lanes as it becomes fatter. Destroying village life, culture, taking away their food, spreading pollution and killing identities of people and cultures. 


Mahbubnagar is one saga. Mahbubnagar has to be sacrificial goat and has to suffer many poisonous evil designs of the witchcraft that money hungry thought system now spins off to devour areas adjoining the monstrous Hyderabad. Thinking of asking what sin Mahbubnagar committed? Hyderabad pakkane undi inkaa bathiki undaalane??

We heard that ‘paalamooru prajalu potta chethapattukuni desalaku poinru’, ‘raithulu atma hatyalu chesukundru’ idi paata maata, ippudu oorla unna koddi mandi kuda, valla bhoomulalla vaalle bichagaallayi, banisalai e dikkunundi esonti pathakaalu vasthayo telavaka paanaalu arachetilo pettukunru. badaa baabulu, medhaavulu rikaam lekunda upanyaasaalu vollistunnaru. “buvva bettetollu leru doraa”, cried Kurmaiah, farmer. 


Polepalli is now filling page one of the dailies. In brief Polepalli tragedy is 1240 acres of arable land belonging to SC, ST, BCs acquired in 2001 by APIIC when TDP Govt was ruling. Villagers were told that a green park was to be developed, that ‘its govt order’, and ‘its for development’. During Congress regime the project started revealing its colors with enactment of SEZ. Overnight it turned into Aurobindo and Hetero drugs project. Drugs considered dangerous to environment and the people. People started resisting and fighting from years. They approached every political party and begged their support. Nothing much happened. All sorts of repression is let loose. Protesting villagers were beaten and put behind bars. So many jailed. Three villages are affected and – Gundlagadda thanda is completely wiped out. Polepalli and Mudireddypalli are there for name sake.  


These villages are promised of good houses, better jobs and compensation. And how good the best policies are that these illiterate villagers could not appreciate is another important aspect of the tragedy. Govt rate for land that time was 18,000/- per acre. But many of them did not even receive 5,000/- per acre. “mettu mettu kaada paisalu madam, maa chetiki emi migalale” says  a woman who lost her husband in the fight with SEZ. Forty five farmers died with heart attack leaving children and wives to their fate in a world that is numb to being dead!! Women who are widows and are mothers of starving children and ravaged by the nightmares of what is in store continue their struggle for justice.  They are going to every place and knocking doors for justice. There is no political party that they have not approached. Just a few people’s organisations are with these people. Telangana Ikya Karyacharana Committee Madhu Kagula is relentlessly working along with other villagers.  
These lands are sold and resold for higher prices changing hands. Right now its  Aurobindo and Hetero Drugs. Whats tomorrow no one knows.. and anybody else it can go for a higher price. Current price for which Aurobindo Pharma is selling the lands is mind boggling. It is Rs 41 lakh per acre. Friends! it’s a big big BIG business of 50,000 lakhs at the conservative figures. Its no surprise that its not just the lands that are sold and resold in SEZs its making politics and policies and theories and political parties into commodities. SEZs is making everything a saleable thing now. Anything is sold now like vegetables. And all voices of conscience become shameless and go silent as SEZ is taking lives of the poor farmers every day


One more startling thing is that Aurobindo Pharma decided sometime back to withdraw and gave letter to the district Collector about its intent. But MLA Laxma Reddy, of TRS party, took all pains and took it as a challenge to bring back that pharma company. Every farmer here has a story to narrate how this MLA went about buying the lands for the pharma company. “sandulla sandulla tiska poyee santhakaalu pettichukonnadu saaru” told a farmer in pain. “maaku saduvu raadhu, suttu pakkala sadhuvukunna maaraajulaku, leaderlaku emayindhi saaru? maa bathukulu anyaayam ayipothunte sodhyam soosukunta koosuntunnaru endhuku saaru?”, asks Senaiah Goud


Yesterday, VIRASAM organised a sabha in Hyderabad. All those affected people came and voiced their problems and pains. “Maa godu inte edvakunda undaleru evvalaina” told a farmer yesterday. He was beaten in the jail, is paralyzed some time back. They were chased by the mafias like a pack of wolves running for the taste of blood. They were chased to run away from their own lands. evvalayina sare first SCla kaadiki vastharu. endukante maa dalitulaku e dhikku lekapaaye. Mundhu meme mosapotham. He told that how villages were died (killed?) step by step. Around 300 acres was assigned to the dalits. They explained how many years they slogged and made that fit into a cultivable land to be only whisked away like this in the name of SEZ. 
Shivli lost 12 acres. She is mother of five small kids and is waging a lone battle. She didnt receive any money till now. naaku padendlappude bhumi unnadani 50 endloniki ichi pendli chesindru. eduguru pillalalla iddaru poinru. Gee santi pillalu unnaru. She was cooking and living in her land under the shade of tamarind tree and fighting to get back the land. Overnight the tree was cut by the land grabbing fellows to push her out from the shade of chinta chettu. maa aayana chavukukooda paisalu lekunda chesinru. (we didn’t have a rupee for the funeral expenses of my husband. They made me a beggar). Who made me a widow to take care of five small kids?  What’s in store for her? Is her sole sin is to be born in Telangana which is facing a war and people are killed everyday. Our leaders and scholars and intellectuals, who are so far away and silent on this tragedy, need to answer and become part of people who are dying and fighting in our Telangana.


Anjamma, Chukkamma, Rajamma, Velugulamma… So many women we heard, who lost their husband.  Each one has a miserable story. Male farmers are just heart broken and tired of fighting but some are still looking for help. They look to sanity and humanity left in the world and Telangana people. They look towards us, the so called educated intelligent and powerful and influential in cities and big positions.


Ratnamala, renowned social activist, who presided the meeting rightly asked. Is it not an issue of whole people, an issue of we all people? Is it an issue of just these farmers of three villages or these women?? SEZ has no laws, it doesn’t permit any law. Some say it is development and someone has to pay the price. Today we are buying 20 kg or 25 kg rice; if we develop do we eat computer chips?? How are we going to survive when cultivable land and the right of someone to live is made a thing for sale and stuff for somebody’s profit hunger? This is not less than any Hiroshima Nagasaki, she told. Many farmers complained of losing vision due to some other company. Peddavagu got polluted. Youth here can’t see anymore. Perhaps its better to be blind than seeing this tragedy watched by the world in shameless silence.
Srinivas, a young activist, said they only had one day celebration in a year- pedda pandaga. Its called GAMPA JATARA. andari laaga memu anni panDagalu chEsukoni tinalemu. chendlallaki pothamu..kammaga kokilalu koosthuntayi chuttupakkala We have community meal. But where do we go now? All trees and forests are replaced by companies, kampugotte companeelu (stinking companies). “maa bathukulu kukkalakanna heenanga unnayi” painunchi rendu roopayila biyyam, kinda nunchi bhumulu laguthunru. our MLAs pendlillaki ochi tini potaru gani, problems vasthe ayenkalla guda raaru“. Its not just an economic issue. Its also social, cultural, ethical, health , environmental, women and child issue of Telangana and all regions.


SEZ are coming in Mahaboobnagar, Warangal and other districts. I think we should respond immediately and stand with our people in distress. We need to support their struggle and save their lands, help them save their mother. We are not against development. maa bathukulu maaku vadhileyyandi. bangaaru katthi anee meda



Poor people cannot afford this development. Let this development be done in rich people’s land and in rich regions and help them become more developed! Let them go to rich people’s lands, who can still survive and become more developed and also understand the need of development. We dont want such projects. Now Telangana cannot afford any more of this exploitation and raakshasatvam.


Politicians will come and go. Elections will come and go. If leaders are good, people will vote for them. votlu eyyam, inka etlu estham, says a Srinivas. Who will stop people’s decision? They are the better people to judge their own lives. First prime important issue is to save Telangana. 


Forgot to mention one great soul Sri Upender Reddy (upa sarpanch) who supported and went with them everywhere. He did not have any threat for his land. Yet he stood with the people and was part of their struggle. He faced so many threats. He passed away. Every farmer remembers him. Isn’t that enough for a person to live for eternity and live in the hearts of one’s people??? joharlu to him!! 


Ratnamala rightly said that protesting imperialistic culture starts again from these farmers only. 


Some of us here along with Telangana Ikya Karyacharana Committee and other groups are trying to strengthen the struggle of Polepalli and also join with people challenging SEZs across the state and country. Trying to gather people’s support. You all know every support is required today for these people who are fighting injustice with barely any resources. They need moral, physical and monetary support. Each drop will make an ocean. All those people who are here in Telangana and abroad can contribute for this great noble cause.


Save Telangana! Save people, fight SEZs

Jai Telangana 



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