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

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.

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.”

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.