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South Gujarat tribal social worker stuns Left-supported land rights meet, seeks revival of Gandhi's swarajya concept

Ashok Chowdhury
By Our Representative
The three-day national convention on land rights ended in Ahmedabad with nearly 500 activists, gathered from 15 states, “pledging” to expose illusions around Gujarat “model of development” amidst a top Gandhian tribal social worker from South Gujarat objecting the use of term “Modi's Gujarat” at the meet.
Gandhian social worker Ashok Chaudhari, who leads Adivasi Ekta Parishad, told stunned activists that it is “Gandhi's Gujarat” and not “Modi's Gujarat”, even as insisting on the need to revive Gandhi's concept of swarjya, which requires self-governance as the
mainstay of any developmental activity in the rural areas.
When he spoke, CPI-M politburo member Hanan Mollah, along with other some other senior activists such as Ashok Chaudhury of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Ashok Shrimali of the Mines, Minerals and People (MMP), and Sunilam of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM).
Refusing to endorse Chaudhuri, NAPM's Sumilam, one of the organizers of the meet, told the convention that the issues raised by Chaudhari on reviving Gandhian ways to fight the challenges of development would be discussed at “some other time.” Top social activist Medha Patkar, who leads NAPM, was not present when Chaudhari made the comment.
A Gujarat-based farmers' leader, Lalji Desai, who came to the meet in his “individual capacity” as he is a Gujarat Congress general secretary, wanted the meet to drop the word “Gujarat” model. “It is Modani model”, he said, pointing towards the alleged unholy alliance of Modi with top industrialist Gautam Adani.
The resolution said, “Many people harbour the illusion that Gujaratis today live in the good old state of Gujarat”, but insisted, instead, that it would be “more fitting” to name of the current Gujarat as a state where a series of special economic zones (SEZs), special investment regions (SIRs) and Delhi-Mumbai Corridor (DMIC) are coming up.
It should be called “SEZ-SIR-DMIC Pradesh”, the resolution, prepared by Anand Mazgaonkar, a well-known environmentalist with the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, said. Pointing towards huge corporatization of Gujarat, the resolution added, “The districts can no longer be called Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar etc.”
“They would more accurately be identified as Adaninagar, Ambaninagar, Nirmanagar”, the resolution said, referring to top industrial houses of Adani, Ambani and Nirma.
“Debunking” the myth of Gujarat model of development was also debunked, the resolution said, “That the jamborees called Vibrant Gujarat summits and the thousands of MoUs and investments worth tens of lakhs of crores promised were never going to be realised is an open secret.”
It noted, “Given the absurd number of documents signed, one MoU would have to be signed every 4 seconds and no more than 6 to 10% of the investments promised would materialise”, adding, “The list of lies broadcast by a captive media – whether it is the discovery of trillions of cubic feet of gas discovery by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), or 7.5% GDP growth, or 14.5% agricultural growth in Gujarat – is endless.”
“The reality is that Gujarat’s public debt stands at a whopping Rs.1,65,000 crore (2016), its performance on social indicators such as gender ratio, female education, infant malnourishment, allocation to health and education sectors, income disparity, collapsing public services etc., can only be termed abysmal”, it said.
The resolution said, it is against this backdrop that people are fighting against the model – “fisherpeople, farmers, cattle herders of Kutch, farmers affected by highway in Junagadh, nuclear power plant in Bhavnagar district, Adivasis in eastern tribal belt from Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, Aravali to Dangs, Valsad and Tapi districts, slum dwellers of Ahmedabad, representatives of the expressway affected of South Gujarat.”

Comments

Unknown said…
Mischievous reporting again on the succesful completion of All India Land Right Conference. Authorship of the report is also doubtful.
Anonymous said…
What was a CPM politburo member doing on the rostrum?
Sunil said…
Strange resolution on Gujarat. Growth rate of Gujarat's GDP was declared at 7.7 per cent for 2015-16 by Socio Economic Review of February 2016. It is lower than many states, and lowest in three decades. Those who prepared the resolution should get facts checked. It gives no credence to organizers of a conference for providing a wrong figure

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