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 By -Saraswati Kavula

This is said to be an industrial estate, where all kinds of pharma companies -will be set up along with a pharma university and township for the workers. (Though i am not sure if the higher officials will live here).

At first they said they need 6000 acres land, then it was increased to 12,500 acres and now in the latest EIA report it says 19,333 acres. Of this some 5500 acres of assigned land (land that was given to Dalits by Indira Gandhi for which they have rights to till but no right to sell) and about 350 acres of patta land (land owned by farmers who must have got it either by inheritance or by purchase), has been ‘acquired” by the Revenue Department. Most of the patta land holders have refused to part with the land.Those who did give are those whose lands were surrounded by assigned lands that were already taken up by the govt. In case of the assigned lands – the government has the upper hand and tells, “okay i gave this land to you, so, i take it back”. So for this successful acquisition of land “by coercion” the local Tahsildar was given an award.

When farmers of the local area met the Joint Collector on 12th October complaining about the public hearing, he said, “We thought they were all farmers, we didn’t know they were political representatives”. Well, at the EPH after announcing every name, they were stating the designation of the person which could be Sarpanch, MPTC, ZPTC, MPP, MLA, ex-MLA etc.

Then one farmer asked him, “If we refuse to give land will you take it by force?” His reply, “For most part we will not Use force, but we will try to acquire amicably. If you refuse we will “give the award” – (meaning deposit the money for your land) and if don;t want to give land, then you can go to court”.

How simple – telling people they don’t have an option, since most farmers will not have the means to bear the costs to go to courts…and then too they may not get justice.

During the Environmental Public Hearing the Pharma Industry representative said that they asked for 2000 acres so that they can shift all their units in different parts of Telangana and set it up at one place – so that they can “manage” pollution better.

So, the issue is if the Industry has asked for 2000 acres, then why is the TS Govt. giving 19,333 acres land???

Moreover, why should an industry that has been murdering people, destroying lands, destroying livelihoods be allowed to set up shop and shift their existing poisonous units to a Pristine Location? To kill more people? Pharma industry heads said, “we didn’t have advanced technology earlier, but now we have…so in this new place we will do it all good”. Really. If indeed their new technology is so good then they should be using it already in their existing place and clean up their act.

My two bits – I feel these industry heads all big pharma guys – some who are multi billionaires featured in Forbes list should be put in jail, tried for the deaths their industry has caused and given life sentences if not hanged to death. Kasab killed only a few Indians and we all got so angry. Yet daily these companies are killing our own kith and kin every day and We treat them with Red carpet Respect and then give fresh areas and fresh population to be killed?

Last but not the least Why should farmers be displaced to create jobs? Isn’t farming a job? Isn’t dairy a job? Isn’t sheep rearing a job? In most villages where agriculture is flourishing – it creates jobs – in fact all these are rural enterprises, In my village i can count on finger tips the number of people who have jobs. In a population of 7000 most of them are either farmers, farm labourers, carpenters, masons, dairy farmers, sheep farmers, potters, black smiths, motor mechanics, tractor owners and drivers, auto rickshaw owners cum drivers, small traders, fruit sellers, vegetable vendors, masons, painters – If these are not jobs, then what are those jobs? Jobs where people are slaves to the grind, with no freedom to spend time with families or friends, no time to relax or to pause from the rat race….why should the free enterprising people of rural land be sent to the city as slaves?

Why Should Rural India be ransacked and pillaged by the Urban Corporates for its profiteering – and throw a few crumbs at the rural folk and call it Jobs and Development?

What is this development that puts people out of their homes, their lands, their roots, makes them sick and malnourished, forced to live inside urban slums, creating this entire circle of unhappiness – a circle of karma that is engulfing the entire society where no one is happy and no one can ever be happy for the wants are never met to ones satisfaction and can never be met. Somewhere we have forgotten that having “things” also called “comforts” is not equal to happiness…especially if those things are coming to us by disrupting, dislodging and destroying other people’s lives!

When i saw the kind of murder that happens in the name of the ‘development” called Pharma Industry where we only see the in flow of dollars but do not see the out flow of human lives from this planet – I felt I don’t need to take these medicines to keep myself alive especially if it comes at the cost of another life. I am grateful that I am able to manage without having to take any drug since those years. Alternatives are there…but we somehow cannot believe that Nature who created us, gave us life, food, water, air, and enough resources to make all those things we make – also has given us plenty of medicinal plants which are simple and within the use of common people. If industry extracts these very same plant material and puts it in a capsule we Trust them. So I can only feel sad when people ask stupid questions like oh can this or that plant cure diseases! That’s modern Development!