Skip to main content

Farmers begin to "oppose" Ahmedabad authority seeking to take away land in the name of urban development

A farmers' rally off Ahmedabad led by Sagar Rabari
By Our Representative
Have the farmers around Ahmedabad city realized that their nod to the Gujarat government proposal to turn their agricultural land into urban hotspots was a major mistake? It would seem so, if meetings held by Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) with the farmers of two of the villagers situated about 20 km from the city are any indication.
Called “to help them better understand the implications of merger into Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA)”, says Rabari, the village meetings at Vayana and Thol clearly suggested that people have begun to oppose AUDA seeking to take away their land in the name of urban development.
A prosperous village, Thol is also known to be one of the biggest sweet water wetlands in Gujarat. It has declared a major birds sanctuary by the Gujarat government. Thanks to the Thol lake, there has never been any water shortage to the farmlands of the surrounding villages.
It all began in 2009, when the Gujarat government, through a notification 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 AUDA boundary.
“In the beginning”, states Rabari, following the meeting with the farmers, “They were happy with this since they expected many basic amenities to be made available to them.” However, eight years later, he adds, they have today realized that it was a “ploy by the government to appropriate their land in the name of ‘development’.”
The meeting saw farmers point towards how the merger into AUDA has made it difficult for the farmers, who had received their land from the government as part land reforms (and identified as “new tenure”) to sell it – as they cannot obtain no-objection certificates from the panchayati raj institutions, which have been made defunct.
While there has been sharp appreciation in the value of their land due to increased jantri rates, the farmers said, those with a large amount of new tenure land have had to endure a major financial blow. Meanwhile, wealth tax and electricity bills have gone up. Village residential area has been limited and future expansion will be difficult.
Quoting farmers, Rabari said in a communiqué, “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.”
In fact, he says, “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 agricultural to NA.”
Rabari further says, there is also the fear that, if town planning schemes of AUDA get implemented, the farmers would lose 40% of their land. Worse, the village grazing land or the gochar – often identified as wasteland -- would be automatically claimed by AUDA and their dairying profession would be adversely hit.
Rabari says, with plans to hold more such meetings with other villages, KSG would succeed in mobilizing the farmers around Ahmedabad, claiming similar successes against urban authorities of several other Gujarat cities – Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagardh, Gandhinagar, and other cities, also against the Mandal-Bhecharji special investment region (SIR) in North Gujarat, and Olpad SIR and Hazira SIR in South Gujarat.
Also involved in organizing farmers of Dholera SIR in south of Ahmedabad on similar lines, Rabari says, “Our is a totally apolitical movement, of and for the farmers, pastoralists, democratic, peaceful and non-violent. All those in favour of these issues can join the movement. No banners or symbols of any political party are allowed.”

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Dalit, Adivasi protest in Jharkhand against 'illegal' transfer of land for development

By Rishit Neogi Displacement and eviction are not new terms. It is surprising that they are still continuing and have become a tool in the hands of state backed corporates to forcibly occupy lands in the name of development.