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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”