By Roydon D’Souza
Pics by Rajesh Shetty
Team Mangalorean, Mangalore
Link: Click Here
Mangalore, October 25, 2009: Lahari Artists Group, Mangalore created a sand sculpture protesting against the Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) project today at Panambur beach at 10:00 AM.
The theme “Save our Nature, Land, Culture and Tradition” was clearly identifiable among all the sand sculptures. Mr. Harish Marne, Mr. Harish Kodialbail, Mr. Pranesh Salian, Mr. Narayan, Mr. Shashikantha and Mr. Jagadish Rao were the artists who created the sand sculptures. “We created this sculpture to create public awareness on the adverse impacts of this project. Since beach is one of the hot tourist spots here in Mangalore, we chose this beach which attracts thousands of visitors every day,” said Pranesh one of the artists.
The sculpture depicting MSEZ as a monster with its scary mouth wide open symbolizing destruction attracted the attention of large number of visitors. The event saw in a lot of spectators and supporters throughout the day and admired the artwork. The monster carried factories on his head while the farmers were crushed in his mouth, under the heavy weight of these factories!
On being asked the artists the disadvantages from their point of view about SEZ, Mr Harish Kodialbail said that the project was being planned on agricultural land and the farmers will loose their livelihood as they are not skilled labourers and also it would be a tough task to relocate them to other jobs. Secondly, he said the companies that operate under SEZ enjoy a lot of tax holidays unlike the farmers who work day and night on their farm land, it would create a burden on the finance ministry as tax collected would be less. “It could also create socio-economic disparities as the SEZ would accommodate the high and mighty the poor people will be pushed towards poverty and unemployment,” Mr Kodialbail added.
Among the visitors were some students who expressed their concern towards the plight of farmers who are being affected by this project. Rajiv Nair a student hailing from Thiruvananthapuram studying in a city college says development and conservation of the environment should go hand in hand. “Industries are also important for the progress of our nation, but government should not destroy the livelihoods of local farmer communities, instead such industries should go to barren lands elsewhere,” he says.
Ultimately the main objective of these kinds of protests is “Promoting Life, and safeguarding the Nature” says another artist Jagadish Rao.