Skip to main content

Gujarat farmers gear up for fresh agitation: Jungadh villagers say "no" to be placed under urban authority

Sagar Rabari addressing farmers
By Our Representative
In an important development which may become yet another headache to the already worried Gujarat government, the villagers of one of the premier Gujarat towns of the Saurashtra region, Junagadh, have threatened to launch a major agitation against the decision to include 42 villages under the Junagadh Urban Development Authority (JUDA).
Earlier, villages in Surat district rejected their inclusion in Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA), while villages around Himmatnagar in Sabarkantha district in North Gujarat expressed their opposition to their inclusion in the Himmatnagar Urban Development Authority (HUDA).
News coming in from Junagadh says, the villagers have formed Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti and held a meeting with the Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG) and Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), where around 1,200 villagers were apprised of how inclusion of the 42 villages would mean land acquisition from the backdoor.
Once an area is declared as forming under an urban development authority, the state government acquires wide powers under provisions of the Town Planning Act, 1976, under which it can take away 40 per cent of the land from the farmers in the name of urban infrastructure development, even as reallocating rest of the land to the farmers elsewhere.
A JAAG statement has said, the life of all villagers, agriculturalists and pastoralists would be “affected”, adding, those who apprised the villagers of the adverse impact included activists associated with the two farmers’ bodies – Sagar Rabari, Rajnibhai Dave and Persis Ginwalla.
The meeting, which took place in Junagadh city, “resolved to publicly and collectively raise their objection to their inclusion in JUDA”, JAAG said.
“The villagers resolved to meet again on October 7 and march in a rally to the district collector’s office in Junagadh city to hand over memoranda from all 42 villages opposing and rejecting their inclusion in JUDA and reiterating their desire to remain a village panchayat”, the statement said.
Says JAAG, “Their main contention is: they want to continue with their occupation as agriculturalists, and inclusion in Urban Development Authority will automatically mean a deduction of nearly 40 per cent of their land, making agriculture next to impossible and leaving them with the only option of selling their land. At the very least this means that ‘one of the fastest urbanising states in India’ is doing so against the wishes of its people.”
The opposition to inclusion into urban bodies has come despite continued “celebration” among official circles that Gujarat’s rate of urbanisation in Gujarat, as per the Census 2011 is 43%, is up from 37% in 2001, making it one of the fastest growing urbanised states in India. This, officials say, is supposed to be a “positive” indicator – suggesting growth, development and growing prosperity.
Increasing disquiet among villages around several cities comes close on the heels of the state government showing signs of fear of losing popularity. It has already postponed local body elections following the pro-reservation Patidar agitation launched across Gujarat in August-end 2015. To this aim, it promulgated a controversial ordinance giving fresh powers to the government to indefinitely postpone citing “law and order situation”.
The State Election Commission (SEC), which is supposed to conduct local body polls, within hours issued the order deferring elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats, which were expected to take place in October-November.
"Keeping in mind the necessity to hold elections in free, fair and peaceful environment, the commission has evaluated the present law and order situation across the state. After such evaluation, we have decided not to hold elections at present," the SEC, operating under the chairmanship for former chief secretary Varesh Sinha, said.
Without giving fresh dates for local polls, the SEC further said, "The commission will take a decision to hold elections in next three months after re-examining the situation in the state."

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

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".

Economy in tatters, labour codes 'take away' workers' safety, benefits, right to form TU

By Our Representative  The four new labour codes promulgated by the Government of India came in for sharp criticism from several labour unions and civil rights groups at one-day discussion meeting organised in Ranchi (Jharkhand) on the issue of ‘changes in labour laws. Participants in the meeting asserted that under these new codes, many of the benefits and safeties accorded to labourers have been "taken away", while the right of labourers to create trade unions has been attacked.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.