Skip to main content

Online petition wants top Modi project Dholera SIR to be cancelled, says it will harm environment

By Our Representative
Well-known farmers' leader Sagar Rabari of Jameen Adhikar Andolan has stepped up his campaign against the high profile special investment region (SIR) being planned for Dholera by acquiring 50 per cent land from the farmers of 22 villages.
Going for online champaign, he has asked concerned citizens for support, saying, the proposed Dholera SIR in south of Ahmedabad will "sacrifice" farmers of the area on the "altar of GDP and FDI".
The land is sought to be acquired under the Town Planning Act, which requires farmers to part with 50% of their land in the name developing infrastructure for the proposed Dholera city. Farmers have been served notice and are keeping their fingers crossed on what may happen next. Even the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 is not being applied on the region.
The online petition, the copy of which will be sent to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, apart from senior officials responsible for delivering the SIR, says that the SIR needs to be cancelled for saving "villagers, environment and organic agriculture".
Prepared on behalf of Dholera farmers, the petition says, "The Government of Gujarat (GoG) announced the DSIR in 2009. We have since lost our peace of mind, tense as we are about losing lands, livelihoods, environment and habitat, culture, dignity, self-reliance, indeed very existence."
Pointing towards geography of the SIR, the petition says, "This project is spread over 22 revenue villages and 16 other major and minor human settlements and agglomerations and spans an area of 920 sq km. The SIR area is ringed on the north by the Gulf of Khambhat. The boundary of Bawaliyari revenue village is ringed in the north by a 20 km stretch of the coast. The coast has been receding since the last 70 years and sea ingress has been on the rise."
Pointing towards environmental danger faced by the region, it says, "In the last 50 years the sea ingress has claimed over 10 km of the land mass. The Gulf of Khambhat records a daily tide of 11 meters and a very strong sea current. Most of the rivers running across Saurashtra and going through Botad, Ahmedabad, and Surendranagar are filled in monsoon and flow through the SIR area to meet the sea."
The situation particularly becomes grim in the monsoon, the petition says, when the "rain water and the sea water together make this area water logged. This characteristic, besides the black and soft clay and the fact that the area is a mere one foot above sea level makes this a coastal zone."
The petition points out, to te Velavadar black buck (Kaliyar) sanctuary and national park "situated at a distance of 200 meters from the village Bawaliyari", saying, "The revenue land of the whole of Bawaliyari and 5 other villages falls within the 10 km radius (considered eco-sensitive zone) of the Velavadar sanctuary. The black buck (Kaliyar) is an extremely shy animal and is listed as a protected animal by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972."
Suggesting harm the SIR would do to wild life, the petition says, "Velavadar National Park hosts the world's largest harrier roost - Montagu's Harrier, Pallid Harrier and Marsh Harrier can be seen in large numbers, while Hen Harrier is occasionally spotted in the winter. The dense grassland of the area sees the arrival of the Lesser Florican birds for breeding in the monsoon, and which is a highly endangered species included in Schedule 1 (of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972)."
The petition goes on: "Other animal, bird and insect species like the harrier, the crane, Wolves, Houbara bustard, Hyenas with foxes, jackals and Jungle Cats as also wild pigs, hares and rodents. Among the avifauna family, Sandgrouse and larks are seen in fair numbers. According to Roger Clarke, the British harrier-expert, the harrier roost found at the park is one of the largest in the world."
"In short, this area is rich with natural biodiversity", the petition says, adding, "The impact of a world-class city with ‘world-class infrastructure’ and dense human population and the attendant pollution (air, water, noise) on the fragile ecology of the area, its flora and fauna can be only imagined. An industrial township in such a fragile zone will cause irreparable damage to this area and its ecology."
Coming to the likely impact of the SIR on the local people, the petition says, "The SIR has an aim of generating jobs and bringing ‘development’ to us. But if the project deprives us of our livelihood, our land, our dignity, of what use is it to us? We do not want to lose our land and become part of the unorganised sector labour force with no guarantees of an assured income. In such a case, our families and our children and their future will be severely jeopardised."
Pointing out that farmers are used to "pursuing rain-fed agriculture for generations", the petition says, "The wheat that is produced is the world-famous variety called ‘Bhalia ghaun’ (Bhalia wheat), cumin, gram and cotton crop. Urbanisation and industrialisation will ruin our agriculture."
The petition continues, "We are told that all this is for our own good, that the SIR will bring educational institutions, quality health care, good roads, water, transport facilities at our doorstep. But we ask: are we not entitled to these anyways? Are these not our rights? Do we not have the right to choose our means and mode of livelihood? Do we not have a say in the direction and indeed the very definition, of ‘development’? Is development the prerogative of only the urban areas?"
The petition further wonders, "How does our impoverishment (and that is certain) serve the ‘national interest’? Can any amount of FDI justify the destruction of organic farming, precious marine life, the endangered flora and animal life in the Velavadar sanctuary?"
---
Link for the online petition: Click HERE

Comments

ila joshi said…
this is a kind of development which is forced upon the people. nothing works unless and until it is coming within the people and from the people. let them find their own solution empower them.

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.