Thursday, September 01, 2016

Demand to return land acquired from Gujarat farmers and handed over to industrialists: Apex Curt order fallout

Tata Nano factory off agricultural land in Gujarat
By Our Representative
The Supreme Court judgment to hand over Tata Nano land, acquired by West Bengal's Left government in 2006, to the farmers (click HERE) is all set to trigger similar demands being made in Gujarat. The Khedut Samaj, Gujarat (GSK), has fired the salvo by declaring that the BJP government has been acting almost in the same way as the Left had a decade ago, indiscriminately acquiring land for “public purpose.”
In a communique, GKS said, the “Gujarat government is not an exception from greed and shortsightedness”, with the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), a state government agency, having acquired “thousands of acres of land in Gujarat, only to hand it over to industrialists.”
GKS has further said, the land in a large number of cases has remained unutilized, adding, with the latest Supreme Court judgment it is clear that all this was done to help the private corporate houses in Gujarat, too, and as the Supreme Court judgment says, illegally. “The judgment exposes the government-corporate nexus, smacking of conspiracy of land grab”, it added.
Asking the farmers to come forward and start the process of "regaining" their land thus acquired and lying unutilized, as they did in West Bengal, Sagar Rabari, who leads the KSG, said, “The unutilized land was sometimes acquired in the name irrigation projects, sometimes by the GIDC, and sometimes for private industrial houses under the public purpose garb.”
Pointing out that the KSG is ready to take up the cause of the farmers, the communique said, “It is time farmers woke up and unite and ask the state government to return their unutilized land. If the farmers demand their land back, KSG will provide them required guidance and help, including filing cases in courts.”
Calling the Supreme Court verdict “historic”, KSG said, it is not an isolated case. “In the Greater Noida case, the land handed over to the builders by the UP government was also ordered to be returned to the farmers”, it added.
Talking to Counterview, Rabari said, “If the farmers of Sanand, about 12 km from Ahmedabad, are ready to come forward to demand their land back, KSG would surely support their cause.”
He added, “While the state government gave over most of the land to the Nano factory in Sanand from its huge plot of the Anand Agricultural University in Sanand, roughly 60 farmers were also adversely affected, as their land was acquired by the GIDC in the same way as the Weste Bengal Industrial Development Corporation did for Nano in 2006.”
Following the agitation led by Mamta Banerjee, then in the opposition, against land acquisition in 2006 for the Tata Nano small car factory, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, decided to shift the factory to Gujarat after then chief minister Narendra Modi offered Tata soft loan of Rs 20,000 crore to transfer the unit to Gujarat.
“While in West Bengal it was WBIDC, in Gujarat it is GIDC”, noted Rabari, adding, “Both have operated almost in the same way.” It is not just the Tata Nano to whom the acquired land was handed over in Gujarat, Rabari said, adding, “A similar policy has been adopted for acquiring land in Jamnagar for Reliance and Essar, and for Adanis in Kutch.”
“Land was similarly acquired in Kevadia Colony to build the Sardar Sarovar dam on river Narmada way back in 1970s”, Rabari said, adding, “Now that the dam is near completion, the government is thinking of putting up a tourism project there. The tribals there are agitating, want their unutilized land back. Same is the case with the Dharoi dam, whose acquired land for the colony is lying idle, as nobody lives in there. It should be given back to farmers.”
Giving an example of how the Gujarat government has been treating farmers, Rabari said, “The Narmada canal network near Ahmedabad was to pass through the Jundal-Chandkheda area. A huge tract of land was acquired from 80-odd farmers."
"However", he added, "Because of pressure of urbanization, the canal's location was shifted one-and-a-half kilometres away the city – at Sughad village near Adalaj. The acquired land remains unutilized. Yet, as the state government doesn't want to part with the land to hand it over its earlier owners, farmers,  because the land prices have shot up drastically."

2 comments:

Sagar Rabari said...

Well said Rajivbhai.

Dipak Dholakia said...

As far as farmers were concerned The Marxist government in Wb and the BJP government in Gujarat did not behave differently. India has seen only one continuous government since 1991 though Prime Ministers have changed. Time for people to draw their own agenda and compel political parties to accept and implement it.