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Gujarat farmers protest against land acquisition for Maruti plant

Our Bureau Gandhinagar | Updated on June 18, 2013 Published on June 18, 2013

In the second such major instance by Gujarat farmers protesting against the State Government’s attempts to acquire agricultural land for industries, hundreds of farmers took out a rally in parts of Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

In the last two years, farmers had protested on similar issues when Nirma tried to get land for a cement plant in Bhavnagar district.

On Tuesday, farmers from 44 villages took out a tractor rally under the aegis of two voluntary organizations, Jameen Adhikaar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG) and Azad Vikas Sangathan (AVS). They had the rally from Vithalpur to Gandhinagar against the proposed Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region (SIR) where the State Government plans to establish an automobile and knowledge hub. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd also plans to set up a car manufacturing plant in this region.

However, the district authorities had put up barricades at a number of places to prevent the agitating farmers from entering the Secretariat area and prohibited the entry of private vehicles on the nearby roads from dawn to dusk.

After the rally, a delegation of farmers was allowed to discuss the matters over with the officials whose first attempt at talks had failed on Monday. The ruling BJP’s associate, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, was also supporting the farmers.

Reports said the State Government sought to acquire nearly 51,000 hectares of land, including pastoral and wasteland, in and around 44 villages of Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Mehsana districts for the proposed SIR. This includes the proposed Maruti Suzuki plant at Hansalpur on Becharaji-Viramgam Highway for which the State Government had allotted 700 acres last year.

To meet the agitating farmers, the State Government had formed a four-member ministerial committee which failed to pacify the farmers on Monday, Sagar Rabari. Convener of JAAG, said.

Last week, the farmers had submitted a memorandum to SIR CEO Pankaj Patel expressing their reluctance to part with their fertile land for the proposed SIR.

Published on June 18, 2013
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