Skip to main content

Ahmedabad farmers realize: They were mistaken in allowing urban authority to put up town planning shemes

By Sagar Rabari*
In 2009, the Government of Gujarat, through a notification, had brought 68 villages (43 villages of Kalol and 25 from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar talukas) with a total area of 625 sq km (62,500 hectares) into the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) boundary.
In the beginning the farmers were happy with this since they expected many basic amenities to be made available to them. After eight years, and the situation remaining as it was, the farmers have today realised that it is nothing but another ploy by the government to appropriate their land in the name of ‘development’.
While on the one hand their situation has not changed for better, on the other, the merger into AUDA and consequent mutation of their new tenure land into old tenure has brought about a sharp appreciation in the value of their land due to increased jantri rates.
The farmers with a large amount of new tenure land have thus had to endure a major financial blow. Panchayati raj institutions have been rendered redundant. Wealth tax and electricity bills have gone up. The village residential area has been limited and future expansion will be difficult.
The experience of so many years has shown that the lands purchased by big industrial houses – Adanis, Arvind Mills etc. – easily gets converted into non-agricultural (NA), their plans are just as easily passed and construction also happens in no time.
Those considered close to powers-that-be can get entire zones changed in their favour, while the ordinary farmer is made to run from pillar to post, seeking mere change of purpose from agriculture to NA.
People of these villages feel that if the town planning (TP) schemes of AUDA get implemented they would lose 40% of their land, the village gauchar and wasteland will automatically, at no cost, be claimed by AUDA, and the villages will most certainly have to lose their income worth several crores of rupees from dairying.
The AUDA notification therefore is not ‘development’ but ‘destruction’ for them. They fear that they would be impoverished, while their land taken away for purported ‘development’ will be handed over to big industrialists.
Seeing the success of movements against the urban development authorities of Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Junagadh, and other cities, as also the ongoing movement against the Dholera special investment region (SIR) and the scrapped SIRs of Mandal-Bhechraji, Olpad and Hazira, Ahmedabad farmers here have realised their mistake in not opposing their merger into AUDA.
The farmers of the area had invited Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) to help them better understand the implications of merger into AUDA. Village meetings were held in villages Vayana and Thol, and the people present there have opposed AUDA’s plans. There will be more such village meetings in the days to come.
In the meetings at Thol and Vayana villages, I made it clear that this will be a totally apolitical movement, of and for the farmers, pastoralists, and will be a democratic, peaceful and non-violent movement. All those in favour of these issues can join the movement. No banners or symbols of any political party will be allowed. Political leaders, if they so wish, may support the movement from outside.
More meetings are planned in the coming days and weeks and farmers and pastoralists are invited to join in large numbers.
---
*General secretary, Khedut Samaj-Gujarat

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”