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Polepally Special Economic Zone, Telangana, India


Polepally SEZ is established by Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC). It is one among many of the SEZ established by APIIC. It is situated at Polepally village, about 90 km from Hyderabad. Now it is in newly formed Telengana state. For the SEZ, land acquisition of about 1000 acre was notified in 2001. Original plans that year were to design as a “Green Industrial Park”. In 2005, the formulation "Special Economic Zone" was established and the land was allocated to many pharmaceutical firms engaged in the bulk manufacture of pharmaceutical products [1] Before the land acquired for the SEZ, the residents of Polepally village and other neighboring areas used to cultivate on that land. The farming was the only means of livelihood of the local villager. However, with the establishment of the SEZ people have lost their land. During procurement of land, government had issued rehabilitation cards to the land losers for jobs in 2007. However, no promises has been fulfilled and the land losers are running pillars to posts and requesting the authorities holding their cards to secure employment.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Polepally Special Economic Zone, Telangana, India
State or province:Telangana
Location of conflict:Town-Polepally; District-Mahbubnagar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

APIIC had procured 1,000 acres of land from 10-15 villages for setting up the SEZ in Polepally in Jedcherla mandal in 2007. Many major pharmaceutical firms had occupied lands in the SEZ for their manufacturing operations[2].

Project area:404.686
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2500-5000
Start of the conflict:2001
Company names or state enterprises:Andhra Pradesh Indutrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Andhra Pradesh
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alliance against Polepally SEZ, Polepally SEZ Vyathireka Aikya Sanghatana
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
There are as many as 13 of them contesting the same Jadcherla Assembly seat as independents [3]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:The major demand of the Polepally anti-SEZ protesters is to get their land back [3]. They threatened that they would intensify the agitation till their demands are met [2].
Their demand is also to formulate a stringent employment policy including the annual reports by SEZ authority and also firms located in the SEZ on employment generated for the land losers in their units [2]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The land acquisition process in the SEZ area (Polepally, Mudireddipally and Gundlagadda Thanda) did not meet the land acquisition norms. No informed consent of land holders had been taken. Their land has been forcefully occupied.
Information given to the land holders regarding the SEZ was incomplete and inadequate.
All the assigned lands were cultivable land and they formed the only source of livelihood for the land holders who are the poor farmers.
Land losers received varying rates of compensation. Beside the cultivable land people lost valuable assets such as wells, bore wells, cattlesheds and trees that were not considered in the compensation
No public hearing on the possible environmental impacts of the pharmaceutical manufacturing project had been organized. Since construction began, water sources in Polepally have apparently become unsafe to drink. According to the study (Vidya Bhushan et. al 2011) respondents reported the death a number of livestock due to polluted water [1].
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

SEZ Act, 2005
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Documentary "The Walls and the Tiger"
[click to view]

[1] Vidya Bhushan, Rawat Mamidi Bharath Bhushan, Sujatha Surepally (January 2011) The impact of Special Economic Zones in India: A case study of Polepally SEZ
[click to view]

[2] Polepally SEZ oustees on warpath again
[click to view]

[3] Polepally: The Special Election Zone
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Polepally SEZ Displaced Farmers Satyagraha
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1456
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