Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mahuva Taluka Bhavnagar District Nirma Cement Plant News Gujarat India

Natural resources belong to people, govt only a trustee for future and present generations, allotment can be cancelled if industry violates environmental rules, says panel

Around 1,000 Saurashtra Villagers from across Gujarat participated in a public hearing on the issue of arbitrary land allotment by the state government to the industrial houses, at the Gujarat Vidyapith on Sunday.

A panel of experts at the hearing has made certain recommendations on the issue, which will be forwarded to the Centre and the Gujarat State Government. No invitee from the state government was present during the hearing though.

Villagers from Kutch District, Bhavnagar District, Junagadh District and elsewhere presented their concerns over the state government’s move to allot public and agricultural land to industrial houses. Some of the important issues, which were raised at the hearing, include the allotment of a substantial portion of land, which has been identified as a water body, to Nirma Company Ahmedabad City for a proposed cement plant in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district.

The villagers also raised their concern over other such allotment for setting up mining, cement, nuclear plants and SEZ projects, before the panel. They explained how the arbitrary allotment of fertile agricultural land has, or can cause serious environmental, food security and employment related problems for them.

Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of the National Planning Commission and a member of the panel said: “There is a lot of merit on the representations made by the villagers at the hearing which have to be heard by the authorities with the utmost urgency.”

For the absence of the invitees from the state government at the hearing, she said it is very disappointing that nobody is present to hear the people’s concern at the hearing.

Among other things, the panel has recommended that Gauchar and wasteland are common village property that cannot be allotted to any private body or a company, and that it should be restored to the gram sabha.

The panel also recommended that the allotment of land should be cancelled if the industrial house has been found violating environmental and other rules.

The panel also held that natural resources belong to the people. Under the doctrine of public trust the government is only a trustee for the future and present generations. As such these resources should be protected.

Other members of the panel were nuclear physicist Dr Surendra Gadekar, Gandhi Peace Foundation Chair person Radha Bhatt, Gujarat Vidyapith VC Dr Sudarshan Iyengar and senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Parikh.

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