Skip to main content

Ghettoisation in Gujarat: There's "no discrimination" on grounds of religion, race, caste, claims Venkaiah Naidu

By Our Representative
Suggesting that there is no ghettoisation in Gujarat cities, including in the state's cultural capital, Vadodara, Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu believes that the Constitution – especially the right to equality before law and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race and caste – “takes care of these things.”
Asked in an interview to a prominent national daily whether the Modi government is “taking a conscious call on increasing ghettoisation”, such as Muslims not “being allowed to move into a Hindu neighbourhood in Vadodara”, Naidu says, “There is no discrimination, whatsoever, on the basis of region or religion or caste.”
Asked whether there can be “a policy that there should be so many Muslims, so many Christians or this community or that”, Naidu refuses to get directly into the controversy, but replies, “But, at the end of the day, implementation has to be taken care of by the local people.”
The reference was the Gujarat law which prohibits transfer of property belonging belonging to a Hindu to a Muslim, and vice versa, in Gujarat's urban areas. Previously limited to Ahmedabad, under the Modi government the law was extended to the entire state under the pretext of stopping panic sale of property as a result of communal riots.
While critics believe this has led to unprecedented ghettoisation in Gujarat, refusing to answer on this, he says, “The only policy we made is that title deed of the house should be in the name of woman. And, beneficiaries have to be selected by the state government.”
Interviewed in Vadodara on the occasion of the Vikas Parv celebration of two years of the Narendra Modi government, Naidu brushed aside unrest in Vadodara related with evictions leading to clashes as “local”, saying, “You cannot rule Vadodara from Delhi. Land is a state subject.”
Saying that the Centre only “formulates a policy — housing for the poor”, Naidu insists, “If you want to remove slums and construct houses there, you can do it. The Centre will not interfere.” All that the Centre would do is to provide “Rs 1 lakh per unit directly”, Rs 1.5 lakh for group housing, Rs 2.5 lakh to “individual beneficiary” if he or she has land “upfront in form of interest subvention.”
Queried on whether the Government of India would interfere in case an incident like the riots in Mathura happened in Gujarat, Naidu says, “The moment the Centre interferes, you will say the Centre is encroaching upon the state’s rights.”
He adds, “The only way the Centre can intervene is Article 356. You want Article 356 to be used in Mathura? You cannot have both. Law and order is a state subject. Second, Mathura has nothing to do with government schemes. Certain people patronised by the ruling party encroached upon the land.”
On the selection of 100 Smart Cities, the senior minister said, “The Centre has no role”, adding, “There was a competition — their revenue, reforms, drinking water, sanitation, greenery, transparency, accountability were among the fixed parameters. Of the 100, 20 cities have been decided by international and national accredited agencies together.”
“Earlier, everybody was looking up: Dilli se kya milega, Ahmedabad se kya milega (What will we get from Delhi and Ahmedabad), but now they are saying ‘humko kya karna hai, how do we compete, how do we make our city green and how do we make our city creditworthy?’ If you want loan, you will get it only when you are creditworthy”, he claimed.
Without saying what a Smart City is – something about which the Central policy makers do not have clarity even today – Naidu said, “You want to become Smart City, you get into this. You don’t want, you remain in existing state. What is the problem? If the city wants to become smart, they have this option. It’s the Prime Minister’s word — lighthouse.”

Comments

TRENDING

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

By Our Representative
Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the &quo…

Australian protesters picket, stop work of Adani contractors for Carmichael coalmine

By Our Representative
Australian protesters have stopped work at the Mackay office of piping company AC Whalan, demanding the company withdraws its tender from Adani’s controversial Carmichael coalmine mine.Twenty-year-old Lisa Amato locked herself to the gate of the facility, while a group of 30 people formed a picket line. Adani is a top Indian tycoon close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The group say they have information that AC Whalan have put in a tender for Adani’s polyethylene pipe contract, though the company have not publicly announced. Spokesperson Donna Smit said, “AC Whalan have not publicly declared their interest in Adani’s Carmichael mine, understandably because the majority of Australians do not want this climate destroying mine.”
“The message we are sending to AC Whalan and all other companies involved with Adani is that we have our eyes on Adani’s contractors. With the effects of climate breakdown being seen right now across this country, any company that hopes to…