2,754 Gujarat Villages without Grazing Land, Residents Allege Forceful Acquisition by State

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 30, 2021

Location of Conflict

Hadiyol

Devbhoomi Dwarka

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

5000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

177

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Gujarat

Sector

Power

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/Contention of the Affected Community

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

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

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

Legal Status:

In Court

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

Case Number

C/WPPIL/136/2015

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

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:

Revenue Department

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:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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