Skip to main content

Opposition to land acquisition in Gujarat picks up, with JAAG expanding its wings towards Dholera SIR

By Our Representative
Movement against “indiscriminate” acquisition of land for industrial use has come to Ahmedabad’s footsteps. Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), the state body which led a campaign against Mandal-Becharaji special investment region (SIR) in North Gujarat, forcing the Gujarat government to remove 36 of the 44 villages from the SIR area, held its first meeting to give vent to “people’s anger” against the formation of Gujarat’s biggest SIR – in Dholera region in Ahmedabad district.
At a well-attended meeting at village Bawaliari decided to hold several protest rallies against the SIR, including a motorbike rally, which would go around all the 22 villages encompassed in Dholera SIR.
JAAG statement said, “The farmers in the Dholera SIR area, spread over 920 sq km, also want to save their farmlands, pasturelands and wastelands. They contacted the activists of JAAG seeking support in their struggle. Consequently, a meeting of the people of the area was called on December 18, 2013, in village Bawaliari. The meeting saw the presence of leaders from various villages and activists numbering around 250.”
The statement quoted leader of Bawaliari village, Pradyumansinh Chudasama, as telling the meeting that the government’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for Dholera SIR had included in the SIR area “the submerged village of Mandvipura, where a recreation zone has been planned”. Expressing surprise over this, he underlined, there were “numerous such examples to prove that the report prepared by the government had no connection with the actual condition on the ground, it was false and misleading and prepared with people sitting in offices.”
Another instance Chudasama cited was the allotment of the final plot for agriculture which has been, for the last about a decade, lying “submerged under seawater.” Worse, he added, “there are resolutions and government resolutions (GRs) seeking to impose betterment taxes”, which was in sharp contrast to the earlier promise that the land would be developed at no cost to them. “This was grossly unjust and that the farmers’ pleas had gone unheeded”, he declared, calling for a strong resistance to this “injustice.”
Participating in the meeting, former finance minister of Gujarat Sanat Mehta, called upon the farmers to fight the government on this issue. He recalled his struggle to get the Narmada waters to the Bhal region, but said, “The present government is going all out to decommand the area from the Narmada command area.”
Yet another participant, former MLA from Mahua and the president of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, Dr Kanubhai Kalsariya, pledged full support to the movement and called upon the people of Dholera region area to “put their differences aside and put up a united fight to save their lands”, JAAG said.
JAAG leader Lalji Desai focussed on “consolidating the organisational strength” of the farmers’ body, while senior activist Rajnibhai Dave talked about “alternative development paradigm”. Yet another activist, Anand Mazgaonkar outlined the important issues to be borne in mind during the Environmental Public Hearing, to be held on January 3, 2014, in Dholera, and the “machinations of the government and officials.”
Another JAAG leader Sagar Rabari outlined the various provisions of the SIR Act, the newly enacted irrigation and drainage Act, and how these new legal instruments were actually anti-people. “He called for a strong organisational response to this”, JAAG said. Among other activists who participated the meeting were Raju Deepti, Swati Desai, Persis Ginwalla, Deepti Raju, Micheal Mazgoankar, Sonal Mehta, Mahesh Parmar, Krishnakant, Rohit Prajapati, Lakhan Musafir, and others.
Taking strong exception to the manner in which the government was seeking to sell/lease pastureland, wasteland and other common property resources in the state, the JAAG statement said, “The Government of Gujarat brought out the Special Investment Region Act in 2009 (with provisions of Town Planning taken from the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1973) to give in to the ever-increasing greed of the corporate lobby.”
It insisted, “This will facilitate releasing nearly 50 per cent of land holdings of private land owners/farmers without any compensation whatsoever. The farmers in the Mandal-Bechraji SIR area fought against this machination of the government and the government had to bow to the people’s wishes.”

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using geenwashing' to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.