Skip to main content

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.
Rabari said in a statement that not only is the area low lying, filled with monsoon waters at several spots, farmers of the Dholera region have been protesting against the SIR Act, which they say is "anti-constitional". There have been reports  that the government seeks to take away 50% of their land in the name of infrastructure development, violating the 2013 land acquisition law that requires farmers' nod and compensation equal to four times the market rate.
The statement by Rabari, who heads the Khedut Ekta Manch, comes amidst recent flooding of Dholera region because of heavy rains, preceded by renewed Government of India efforts to promote  Dholera SIR, with authorities claiming they are in a take-off mode, are ready to allot land for industrial projects, and are in talks with multiple companies keen to invest there.
Many, according to them, are "finalising plans", with announcements expected "soon". The claims have been made though six years ago similar efforts flopped, when three large infrastructure investors decided to withdraw.
The state government was not just forced to push the Rs 40,000-crore infrastructure project by Mumbai-based Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) on the back burner, a similar fate awaited two other major companies, one of Hotmail promoter Sabeer Bhatia's Nanoworks Developers Gujarat, the local entity of Bhatia's US-based company, and Greater Dholera Infracon Pvt Ltd (Kolkata), as these investors decided not to put money in land.

Rabari's statement:

The land selected for the Dholera smart city and the international airport is low lying, which emerged from the sea centuries ago. The gap between the sea level and the land level here is very small.Whenever there is heavy rainfall in the upstream and high tide in the Gulf of Khambhat, the sea does not accept rain water, so the entire area gets inundated for days.
If the authorities want to build smart city or airport here, land filling is a must, and in such a big area, this is not physically possible or economically viable. In case of a tsunami, because of its low level, a big disaster is possible, hence it is preferable to avoid such risk.
Having emerged from the ocean, there may not be sold soil or rock available to build strong foundation for building infrastructure. However, the entire area is not barren or saline, as the government claims, thanks mainly due to long periods of inundation during monsoon.
During winter, farmers grow world famous wheat known as bhaliya or chasiya ghau without any irrigation, cumin, gram and the very useful fodder juwar. And during periods of scarce of rainfall or absence of inundation, farmers grow thr local variety cotton known as deshi kapas. Farmers here do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, they use own seeds, so theirs is actually “organic” agriculture.
This is one of the major reasons why there is not a single case of farmer’s suicide is registered in this area because of indebtedness. Also, farmers do not want to part with their agricultural land here because it is profitable to do farming. Only a few political activists or the people who have invested to gain big bucks are trying to suggest that agriculture here is not viable, hence industrialization of the area is the only option.
The smart city authorities should explain as to why the investors who signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) during the Vibrant Gujarat investors' summits such as HCC and Sabeer Bhatia backed out.
The SIR Act, 2009, under which the project is sought to be implemented by the government, is itself anti-constitutional. The Gujarat High Court has ordered maintenance of status quo. If the High Court or the Supreme Court nullifies the anti-constitution Act, who will bear the cost already invested in the project?
The authorities should explain to the people as to whose hard earned tax money has been spent here, or the investors (if any are still there, though according to our knowledge, as none wants to invest here). In this project, people’s money has been spent in order to attract favoured companies, and this is being showcased as development. Meanwhile, farmers are being deprived of their wealth.
We demand that the government should declare this area as “Organic Zone” if it wishes to enrich people at all. It should to ensure that farmers get market and value addition to their organic produce and their younger generation gets employment opportunity. It should shed its wrong direction, and must return to the true path of development.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Now a Days Dholera is best place for return on investment read latest news- for latest dholera work update visit - https://www.dholeraprime.com/86-of-infrastructure-work-at-dholera-sir-complete-cm-vijay-rupani-2021/

TRENDING

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

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".

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.