On March 20, 2018, the Gujarat government, in reply to a starred question by Congress MLAs, told the state Assembly that 2,754 villages in Gujarat have no _gauchar _land (community land for grazing of cows and other animals). Of these, 318 villages are in Chhota Udepur district, followed by Dang (310), Mahisagar (225), Valsad (216), Narmada (206) and Banaskantha (197) districts. In 2015, Congress had accused Essar Group of forcibly acquiring farmland and grazing fields in Gujarat's Devbhomi Dwarka district in collusion with the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state. The residents of 57 villages Mota Manda, Nana Manda and Parodhiya have filed petiions. The Gujarat high court then issued notices to the state government and Essar Group alleging that the group had wrongfully acquired agricultural and grazing land. When the company floated the proposal to acquire land, the price it was officially asked to pay was as low as the _jantri _rate, which is two or three times lower than the market rate. The district collector finally allowed Essar to acquire land. The Land Acquisition Act, 2013, came into force the same year Essar had proposed the coal corridor. However, the group ignored the Act and its provisions, which mandated acquiring consent, conducting a social impact assessment and increasing the compensation price by four times. The group allegdly had forcibly acquired fertile land and common grazing land from farmers by applying the archaic 1894 land acquisition law. In August 2017, Essar Oil Limited was rebranded as Nayara Energy Limited, which proposed an expansion in the capacity of the oil refinery. To this end, it had to prepare a draft environmental assessment report and hold a public consultation. However, in June 2019, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) merely invited written submissions, which led to the affected population objecting to the process. When the GPCB did not respond, they filed a case with the Gujarat high court, which ordered the project proponent to carry out a proper public consultation as per the EIA Notification, 2006. The public consultation has so far not been conducted as the residents have objected to gather during the pandemic, The project authorities, however, have been keen to get it over with in more than two instances. In 2012, residents of Hadiyol village near Himmatnagar in Sabarkantha district protested against the state government for taking back 27 acres of land from the village panchayat to set up a medical college. The district revenue department had allegedly given this _gauchar _land to the panchayat in 198384 for residential purpose for Hadiyol. In 2007, 32 Dalit families applied for plots and were allocated the same on the condition that they have to complete construction within two years. However, in December 2011,the government took back the entire plot of land citing breach of the condition. The same land was subsequently allotted for the construction of a government medical college. In the same district, residents of Harsol village had filed a PIL in December 2010 at the Gujarat high court challenging the allotment of 40 hectares of grazing land to industries by the state government. All such encroachments have led to the current situation. In a written reply to the Assembly session, the state panchayats and rural development minister accepted that 4,725 hectares of _gauchar _land in 33 districts have been encroached upon. The government also conceded that 57.54 hectares of _gauchar _land in the Gir sanctuary was encroached upon prior to 198788 and that these encroachments have still not been removed. Legally, _gauchar _land cannot be sold or privatised. In January 2011, the Supreme Court had imposed strict restrictions on the sale of _gauchar _land and directed that encroachments on such land be removed.
Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for more compensation than promised, Demand to get back acquired land
Non-Forest (Grazing Land)
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Land Acquisition Laws
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 4 [Publication of acquisition notice by the acquiring authority]; Section 11 [This section provides for award of compensation by Collector]; Section 23 [This section provides for matters to be considered in determining compensation]
Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1993
Section 108(4) [This section provides for grazing land vested by the state government in a panchayat to be used for public purpose]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 7 [Provides for the preparation of an EIA report and conduction of a public consultation]; Section 8 [Union government empowered to grant or reject approval to the project proposal with or without conditions]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 4 [This section provides for preparation of Social Impact Assessment study]; Section 27 [This section provides for determination of amount of compensation]; Section 31 [This section provides for rehabilitation and resettlement award for affected families]; Section 77 [This section deals with payment of compensation]
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Controversial land acquisition by the government , Lack of legal protection over land rights, Violation of free prior informed consent, Violation of LARR Act, Violation of environmental laws, Incorrect estimation of compensation, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
High Court of Gujarat
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
The company forcefully took possession of farmers' and common grazing land in Mota Maanda, Parodia and other nearby villages of Khambalia tehsil in Devbhoomi Dwarka district.
Date of Violation
June 30, 2015
Location of Violation
Mota Maanda, Parodia and other nearby villages
Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Essar Power Gujarat Limited
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict: