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

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

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.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

A Marxian trend that queries undemocratic customs and traditions of capitalism

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her… There is no other philosopher who is more abused and misunderstood like Marx. There is no other philosophy like Marxism which is more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The propaganda and portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine signify its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it. Marxism is a philosophy of praxis which helps us to understand the centrality of creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us to analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society. As a humanist p