Skip to main content

Stay granted on eviction of cattle breeders of Aliyebet, proposed as Narendra Modi's El Dorado in 2010

Aliyabet island: Proposed as entertainment zone
By Rajiv Shah
In a major relief to 101 families residing at Aliyabet village, situated in the vicinity of the industrially-hyperactive Dahej region of South Gujarat, the state High Court has stayed the state forest department’s 14-year-old order to evict them from their land, calling them “illegal encroachers.” Claiming to be using the land for cattle breeding, their only occupation, for the last 60 years, the villagers received a major relief following Justice CL Soni order granting “interim protection” to the affected persons, asking the authorities “not to evict petitioners from the land till the final disposal of the civil suit pending in the civil court, Bharuch.”
The case was argued in the Gujarat High Court by senior advocate Shilpa R Shah for the affected families, who had approached an NGO, Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, for help.
Aliyabet shot into prominence in December 2008 when a huge area next to the village, Aliyabet island, was proposed by Gujarat government officials as one of the sites for the mini-Japan they claimed Japanese investors wanted to set up in the state. The proposal was forwarded to the Japanese Export Trade Organisation (JETRO) at the Vibrant Gujarat business summit in 2009. The Japanese, who visited the site, did not like the location, and were more keen, instead, to set up a “mini-Japan” township next to the Dholera special investment region in Ahmedabad district. Dholera has been on agenda as one of the major “smart cities” of India.
Later, top international consultants, Mott MacDonald, identified Aliabet as an “ideal location” for a special investment region (SIR) for two sectors — entertainment and aquaculture. In a report it submitted to the Gujarat government in 2010, the consultants said, it was possible to set up a resort, a golf course, a film city, an amusement park and an integrated sports complex on this no-man's land. A 169-square-kilometre open space, surrounded by water from three sides and situated in the mouth of Narmada river in the Bay of Khambhat, Aliabet ceased to be an island several decades ago as silt gathered on one side changed the course of the Narmada river.
To build all this, the consultants said, it would be necessary to “landfill” the area in order to increase its height by 1.5 metres to three metres. To cost Rs 1,585 crore, the landfill was “necessary” as large portions of Aliabet turned into a wetland during monsoon. Even during high tide in the Gulf of Khambhat, water seeps into five different natural ponds existing in Aliabet. The eviction notice served on 101 residents of the Aliyabet village on July 2, 2000, apparently, came handy on the Modi government to further its idea of “clearing the area” of cattle breeders, many of whom would come from rest of India, as it’s was supposed to be of excellent quality.
The notice was initially served by the range forest officer to five members of the community, stating that within seven days of receipt of this notice, “all huts and mosques would be removed from the Aliyabet area and legal proceedings would be initiated”. One of the elders from the village, Hasanbhai Habbibbhai Jat, took the lead in filing a civil suit in a Bharuch court on behalf of 101 families residing at Aliyabet village. They sought a permanent injunction from the court to the effect that the “suit property” (land) was in their possession, and the petitioners had become the owners of the land “by way of adverse possession”. The petitioners also said the land may be declared waste land and the respondents (state government) be restrained from evicting them from the land.
The petitioners also made an application for interim injunction, which was rejected by the additional senior civil judge, Bharuch on July 12, 2006. This made them appeal in the district court, Bharuch, where too the plea for interim injunction was rejected, forcing the petitioners to approach the High Court, saying they should be given “permanent injunction”. The High Court set aside the local courts’ orders and granted “interim protection in the interest of justice”, the advocate said. The High Court order restrained “the respondents from eviction and dispossessing the petitioners from the suit property, pending the admission, hearing and final disposal of the petition.”
In their appeal before the High Court, Aliyabet residents said that effort to evict them of the Aliyabet residents was “against the principles of natural justice and provisions of law, without application of mind, atrocious, illegal and improper.” The notice to evict them was served to them despite the fact that they were in possession of all necessary documents, including ration cards, voter ID cards, fishing license, and are on record of using the land for cattle grazing as far back as 1916, for which they were issued receipts in 1916 and 1960. Despite all this, and other proofs, including maps, the petitions were declared “illegal encroachers.”
Aliyebet residents argued, “Even if it is to be believed that the petitions are illegal encroachers, they cannot be evicted and dispossessed of the suit property without following any procedure of law or by giving alternative accommodation.” It adds, “In several cases of illegal encroachment, the government has come out with various alternative schemes/ accommodations to protect the interest of such persons.”

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”