Skip to main content

Non-committal on demands, Gujarat govt gets assurance that Modi's "iron rally" will not be disturbed

October 2 protest rally
By Our Representative
Representatives of Narmada project affected persons belonging to tens of villages surrounding the Kevadia colony, the spot where the Narmada dam is situated, returned from Gandhinagar without getting any concrete assurance about their main demand – not to turn the entire region into a tourism spot by acquiring their land. A statement issued on behalf of the affected persons soon after the meeting, which took place in the state Capital in the afternoon, said, “The Gujarat government for the first time agreed that there was a problem and there should be negotiations. However, it refused to give any assurance.”
As many as 145 representatives from 70 villages, which face the danger of losing their land for the tourism project around Kevadia, met Cabinet ministers of the Modi government, including finance minister Nitin Patel, revenue minister Anandiben Patel and tribal and forest minister Ganpat Vasava. The talks, which took place in the presence of Narmada district collector Rakesh Shankar, ended after the ministers succeeded in getting a promise from the representatives that they would not disturb Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s proposed rally off Narmada dam, which is to take place on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
Modi’s rally is being organised with the declared intention to “collect” iron from farmers around the country to “build” the highest 182-metre statue of the world – Statue of Unity – in the memory of Sardar Patel. Senior IAS bureaucrats have been dispatched to different parts of the country to “convince” farmers to come with iron for the statue. Insiders, however, say that the state government will not be using the iron for the statue as it is “technically not feasible. The iron will be mostly used for decorations, including railings, around the Statue of Unity, which is proposed to be the central attraction while converting the whole area into a tourist spot.
The meeting took place following a veiled threat by the Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) to several of the village panchayats around Kevadia that they should “allow their lands to be used for tourism purpose or face consequences.” A KADA chief executive officer letter to as many as 52 village sarpanches threatened the villagers in these words in March, but later retracted saying his letter was “misunderstood”, calling the sarpanches for a compromise. As the compromise failed, the projected affected villagers held a well-attended meeting off Kevadia on October 2, where it was decided to intensify the stir. This woke up Gandhinagar, which called the villagers for negotiations.
During the meeting with the ministers, the representatives gave the following charter of demand:
· The six villages (Kevadia, Vagadia, Kothi, Limbdi, Navagam and Gora), whose land was taken away to build the Narmada dam without any compensation in line with other project affected persons of the Narmada project, should either get back their land or they should be paid compensation according to the Narmada tribunal award.
· Decades ago, the villagers, whose lands were taken away, were told that the acquisition was being done only for the dam, and no other purpose. Since the purpose has been solved and the colony is not needed any more to house officials to implement the project, there is little reason to come up with any other activity like tourism in the region, which is proposed through KADA. In fact, the tourism project should be abandoned.
· Work for the proposed Garudeshwar weir, to be built 12 kilometres downstream of the dam in order to convert the whole area into a huge lake to encourage tourism, should be stopped immediately. The weir, it was pointed out, would affected fishery activities, and no environmental clearance has yet been taken for it, though it is part of the Narmada project.
· There should be an urgent decision to work for giving irrigation water from Narmada and Karjan dams to the villagers surrounding the Kevadia, even if it may mean lifting of the water from Narmada river. Currently, the villagers of the region, which gave away their lands for Narmada and Karjan, are deprived of any water from the two projects.
The representatives who spoke before the ministers were Kalpesh Tadvi, Narendra Tadvi, Vijendra Tadvi, Naresh Tadvi, Chandrakant Tadvi, Bhailal Tadvi, Dakshaben Tadvi, Gemjibhai Tadvi and Ambaben Tadvi, all belonging to the Sitter Gaam Adivasi Sangathan, especially formed to protest against the government’s move to convert the region into a tourism spot. Representatives of the environmental NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Lakhanbhai Musafir and Dipen Desai, were also present on the occasion.

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.