Skip to main content

Change of purpose? Sardar Statue, tourism project on land acquired for Narmada dam, says official document

By Our Representative
Is the Gujarat government set on a developing high-profile tourism spot, which would include the 182-metre high statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on the land acquired for the Sardar Sarovar dam – signifying a change of purpose? It would seem so, if you goes by a right to information (RTI) query is any guide. The statue is proposed as the highest bust on earth, with the cost of Rs 3,000 crore. The RTI query was filed with a Gujarat government revenue office by senior activist Kirit Rathod, who demanded official documents concerning land acquisition for the Sardar statue project, including orders, if any, regarding this.
The reply, which was given by the Narmada district collectorate’s office on February 18, 2014, said, the so-called Statue of Unity would be implemented at Limdi village, Nandod taluka, Narmada district. “The Sadhu bet as well as the surrounding area was acquired for the Narmada project, and it is in possession of mamladtar’s office, Nandod, ever since August 23, 1967. Hence, there is no need for fresh acquisition of land for the proposed project.”
Calling this a “very serious matter”, Rathod, who is with the Dalit rights body Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, said, this suggests that the purpose for which the land was acquired – building of the dam – is now set to change. If earlier it was to build the Sardar Sarovar dam, now it would become a tourism project, which would include the Sardar Statue. “How can the Gujarat government change the purpose of land acquisition like this”, the senior activist wonders.
These facts have come light against the backdrop of demand by villagers surrounding the Sardar Sarovar dam to “return” the land, acquired for the dam. The land, they say, has remained unused till now, and the purpose for which it was acquired has been “fulfilled”. Even the Kevadia colony, built on the acquired land, is being slowly getting depopulated. Hence, there is little reason why its leftover should remain with the Gujarat government any more.
Kirit Rathod
The villagers have simultaneously been demanding “fair compensation” for the land which was taken away from them for the dam. According to them, they should be paid compensation on par with the Narmada dam oustees of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The oustees, including landless, are being paid an alternative plot of land for cultivation, a house in a rehabilitation colony which has all the facilities of education and health, apart from some cash compensation. The Gujarat government has so far refused to agree.
Significantly, while the RTI reply does not mention it, the rural folk of as many as 70 villages, mostly tribals, were last year served notice that they should agree to a proposal from the Gujarat government for land acquisition for tourism project, as and when it takes place. The notice threateningly tells the village panchayats that in case they do not agree with the notice, they had better face “serious consequences.”
This flared up the tribals of 70 villagers, who formed Sitter Gaam Adivasi Sangathan, to fight against land acquisition for the tourism project. The fear of land acquisition was further aggravated following the decision of the Gujarat government to build a weir across the Narmada river, about 12 kilomtres downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam. Called Garudeshwar weir, it is supposed to store water in the 12 km stretch starting at the Narmada dam, to be used for water sports, on one hand, and supplying water to industry, on the other.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

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. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.