Saturday, December 12, 2009

Junagadh Bhavnagar District New Samachar Saurashtra Gujarat India

Gandhians, others join hands for ‘coastal yatra’ against land acquisition.

Say unmindful industrialization, capitalist-imperialism led to economic disparity, corruption and poverty.

Opposition to land acquisition in the state is getting momentum. The Gujarat Lok Samiti, headed by noted Gandhian, Chunibhai Vaidya, has announced plans to take out a ‘yatra’ along the state’s coastline to mobilize people against such acquisition for industrial houses.

Though the date for the yatra is yet to be finalized, Vaidya, flanked by columnist and thinker Prakashbhai Shah and activist Ilaben Bhatt, said it would start from Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, and terminate at Umargam in south Gujarat. Umargam is the place where retired Army Colonel Pratap Save died in police custody after being arrested for leading a protest against acquisition for setting up of a port by a multinational company in April 2000.

Vaidya, Shah and Bhatt said they were not opposed to development, but extremely concerned about the displacement of the local people. They said the acquisition of agricultural land by the government for industries has resulted in huge unemployment among the villagers.

Unmindful industrialization and capitalist-imperialism has resulted in economic disparity, promoted corruption and poverty as also crime against women, they said.

Vaidya said, farmers at several places like Anwarpura in Patan, Vadodara-Jhala in Junagadh district, Jharpara village in Kutch district and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district are already opposing the land acquisition for industrial purposes. He said the government was even acquiring the common ‘gauchar’ land and handing them over to the industrialists, leaving no land for the cattle in the village. This was weakening the rural economy, he said.

“This is inhuman and undemocratic,” said Shah.

Meanwhile, farmers in Ichchapore village near Surat have moved the court against Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Agriculture Minister and the Union Environment Minister over the allotment of a big piece of land to a private firm, Gujarat Hira Bourse, for setting up a gem and jewellery park.

The land was acquired by the government for setting up an industrial estate but the plan could not materialize. So, they allotted it to the private party.

The farmers are now demanding it back, saying the allotment was against the land acquisition provisions of the state government.

Several farmers from villages around Sanand have also declared to launch a protest movement against the acquisition of more land for the Tata Motors’ Nano car project. Recently, they called on the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation officials in Gandhinagar and demanded a halt to the acquisition, saying a large number of farmers would be rendered jobless.

Farmers in the adjoining Manjusar industrial estate in Vadodara have also opposed the acquisition of land for expanding the industrial estate.

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