Medha Patkar to lead rally against Reliance

Vol 10, PW 18 (11 Jan 07) News in Brief

Medha Patkar is one of the most controversial activists in India.

She spearheaded a campaign against the Gujarat government's Narmada Dam project, touted as the 'Lifeline of Gujarat' and created such pressure that the World Bank pulled out. Patkar is now learnt to be gearing up to open another front in Gujarat – this time against Reliance.

A group of activists and farmers affected by the proposed Jamnagar refinery expansion in the 10,000-acre Special Economic Zone proposed by Reliance Petroleum have invited her to Jamnagar for a protest rally at Navagam on 17th January. Navagam is one of the villages within Reliance's expanded refinery area.

Patkar’s involvement comes amid rising protests across India against the forced eviction of farmers from their land for SEZs. Reliance’s proposed SEZ is already under scrutiny but if Patkar makes it to Navagam it will be one of the biggest challenges faced by the company as its expands its refinery to 60m t/y.