Skip to main content

Fresh eviction notices to Gujarat farmers of Dholera region, set aside for smart city, trigger angry protests

By Our Representative
Thousands of farmers living in the Special Investment Region (SIR), Dholera, are again showing signs of unrest following fresh eviction notices served on them to vacate their agricultural plots. Sent under the SIR Act, the notices require the farmers to part with 50% of land.
Enraged farmers, accompanied by women and children, on Tuesday staged a protest at the Town Planning office of the Dholera region, where the Gujarat government is planning a smart city as part of the sprawling Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
The SIR Act, allows the state government to apply provisions of the Town Planning Act, which allows it to acquire 50% of agricultural land for setting up urban facilities in an area where a proposal for town planning scheme has been floated.
In all, the Gujarat government has approved six Town Planning schemes on a 902 sq km Dholera SIR, which includes a smart city. In the latest round, farmers of Town Planning scheme No 1 were sent notices, creating flutter across the region.
The notices were served following reports that Dholera SIR was given environmental clearance to go ahead with setting up smart city and industries in the region.
A farmers’ delegation, which met the Town Planning officer, wondered how he could issue notices to the farmers despite a stay order passed by the Gujarat High Court on December 10, 2015.
Said Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG) secretary Sagar Rabari, who has been fighting for Dholera farmers’ land rights, the Town Planning officer “flustered” and “had no proper answer to give to the farmers”, though “came down to meet them and assured them that their feelings would be communicated to the government.”
Calling the notices “contempt of court”, Rabari said in a statement, the Gujarat High Court order had asked the Gujarat government to maintain status quo in a case filed by several farmers (suit No 227/2014) seeking cancellation of SIR in the Dholera region.
The farmers had sought court intervention over earlier notices served to them in 2014 to part with 50% of land for urban infrastructure. Calling the notices “unconstitutional”, the farmers’ plea wondered how such notices could be served without gram sabha nod.
Rabari accused the Gujarat government of working as agent of big private companies seeking to evict “unarmed farmers”, adding, “Government officials, with the tacit approval of their political masters, are resorting to harassment of farmers despite the High Court stay order.”
“This shows how far the government is prepared to go in order to oppress the farmers, to push them to desperation so that cheap land, labour and water can be made available to the corporate”, he added.
Wondering whether the government is the middleman of the companies and corporate houses, Rabari wondered in his statement as why was the government, “sold to free-market logic, not facilitating a dialogue between the farmers and the corporate sector.”
“The situation is getting tenser with each passing day and very soon the time may come when it may become difficult for the administration to contain the farmers’ anger”, Rabari warned, adding, “People are only demanding that the government wind up its Dholera SIR Authority office and provide Narmada water for irrigation.

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."