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

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

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.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.