Skip to main content

Gujarat's top non-political farmers' body to hold anti-BJP 14 day motorbike campaign starting November 17

Rahul Gandhi interacting with KSG farmers on Nov 3
By Our Representative
In a major boost to the Congress, the top non-political farmers' organization, Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), has thrown its weight behind the Congress, declaring on Wednesday that it would take out 2,000 km long motorbike rally from South Gujarat's Bhilad to North Gujarat's Amirgadh via Saurashtra to campaign for the "ouster" of the BJP government in the state.
"Farmers form 52% of the electorate, and they are extremely unhappy the manner in which the state BJP rulers have treated them", Sagar Rabari, who heads the KSG, told newspersons in Ahmedabad. "Our 14-day rally will start on November 17", he said, adding, "About 100 motorbikes will move from one place to another, addressing farmers' meetings, and asking them not to vote for the BJP which has ruled the state for 22 years."
Rabari's open opposition to BJP follows a KSG-sponsored well-attended dialogue, in which hundreds of farmers directly interacted with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on November 3 in Valsad, South Gujarat.
"While Gandhi gave us time for interaction, where farmers put forward their demands, when we approached BJP president Amit Shah for a similar discussion, our KSG leaders were put under house arrest. I had to talk with the Election Commission office to ensure their release", he said.
The major demands put forward by KSG before Gandhi included abrogation of the Gujarat land acquisition law, which seeks to undermine consent and social impact assessment clauses of the 2013 land acquisition Act of the Centre, and abrogation of the Special Investment Region law, which seeks to impose town planning norms on agricultural land by imposing a 50% land acquisition in the name of infrastructure development.
"We sought firm assurance from Gandhi that he would allow farmers' right to protest by taking out rallies and dharnas, something denied to us by the BJP rulers, and he readily agreed that the basic democratic rights of the people cannot be violated in any manner", Rabari said, adding, "Other demands included 24 hour power and debt waiver".
Rabari further said, "We have concrete example on how waters from the Narmada dam meant for irrigation is being diverted to industry. The Vallabhipur branch canal of the Narmada project has a capacity of receiving 2,200 cusecs of water. However, it receives just 900 cusecs."
"Worse, of this, the farmers get only 500 cusecs of the canal waters for irrigation, while the rest is claimed to be diverted as drinking water," he said, adding, "We suspect that the water is being diverted to industry, to different state-owned industrial estates operating in the region. This should stop immediately."
KSG has been in the forefront in the struggle against special investment regions (SIRs), leading to downsizing or completely put off the decision for having SIRs.
Rabari clarified, "Our decision not to vote for the BJP does not mean that, if the Congress comes to power, we will stop fighting for farmers' cause. On the contrary, our struggle for farmers will continue."

Comments

TRENDING

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.