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Dholera smart city: Gujarat govt uses private agency for processing land acquisition, "violates" High Court ruling

Farmers display their land title in Dholera SIR
By Our Representative
In a move which is being interpreted as violation of the High Court ruling, the Gujarat government has begun the work of land acquisition process in the Dholera special investment region (SIR), situated in the south of Ahmedabad district.
On December 10, 2015 the High Court had stayed land acquisition, asking the sate government to maintain status quo. It asked the government “not to proceed with land acquisition or related activities.”
Bringing this to light, the Khedut Samaj – Gujarat (KSG), in a statement, said that the process of land acquisition has “begun with the help of the agencies to which it has outsourced the job of work of land measurement.”
The Gujarat government wants to set up a greenfield smart city in Dholera region by applying the town planning Act on a huge area of about 900 sq km area, on which the SIR has been visualized.
Under the town planning Act, the state government is empowered to take away 40 to 50 per cent of the agricultural land in the name of developing urban infrastructure.
Despite the hype around it, no investor has turned up to invest in Dholera SIR because it is supposed to be a low lying, flood prone area, requiring massive infrastructure investment in order to fill up the land region.
Calling it a direct violation of the court order, the KSG has said that the process of land measurement has “happened thrice already in the last 10 days”, when the agency’s officials “have visited the land, but people have thrown them out of their land.”
Wondering whether the Gujarat government is “hell-bent on disregarding the court orders”, the KSG said, “Can the people be expected to remain patient? It is possible that the state government is deliberately trying to precipitate a crisis under the pretext of crushing the farmers’ agitation.”
KSG said, it seems the Gujarat government is “trying to tell the people, 'I am the monarch of all I survey, it is my right, there is none to dispute. The High Court orders do not bother us, we will do as we wish.”
Calling it a display of “undemocratic and criminal core” of the Gujarat government, the KSG said, this type of attitude is “pushing the state towards anarchy.”
Calling land measurement a “blatant illegality and unconstitutionality on display”, the KSG said, “The 22 villages falling in the proposed Dholera SIR area have been agitating since the last four years. Their peaceful and non-violent struggle has gone unheeded by the Gujarat government.”
“The protests have received the support of Khedut Samaj – Gujarat and Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat. The local farmers and the Khedut Samaj – Gujarat had challenged the DSIR and the SIR Act 2009 (under which Dholera SIR has been declared) through a PIL in the High Court in 2014”, KSG said.

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