7 Villages in Gujarat's Vadodara Notified Within City Limits, Residents Oppose Move

Reported by

Rejitha NairLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 6, 2020

Location of Conflict

Bil

,

Sevasi, Karodiya, Vemali, Undera, Vadadala villages

Vadodara

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

Inclusion of villages within city limits

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

2992

ha

State

Gujarat

Sector

Land Use

Protests broke out in four villages in Vadodara in June 2020 against a government notification to include seven villages within the limits of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The dispute started in September 2019 when the VMC general committee passed a proposal to include seven villages -- Bhayli, Sevasi, Bil, Karodiya, Vemali, Undera and Vadadala -- within the municipal limits. It was reportedly in response to requests by the residents of some newly developed housing societies who wanted inclusion of their areas in city limits for better infrastructure development. Hence, the VMC decided to include the seven villages under its jurisdiction and develop roads in these areas, jointly with the Vadodara Urban Development Authority. However, the proposal met with opposition from a majority of residents of these villages. This was mainly because their inclusion in municipal limits would lead to the dissolution of village panchayats and an increase in the property tax rates. The villagers also alleged that the VMCs move is aimed at increasing its revenue by converting agricultural lands into real estate projects. The village panchayats had written letters to the additional chief secretary of the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department as well as filed a Special Leave Petition in the High Court of Gujarat in April 2020, asking for a reversal of the government notification. While the matter was sub judice, the government issued a notification on June 18, bringing the seven villages within the city limits and under the VMCs jurisdiction. This sparked protests in the villages of Bil, Sevasi, Karodiya and Undera. The protesters gathered in public places, raised slogans, burnt effigies and called for a bandh. Jay Bhatt, sarpanch of Bil Village Panchayat, told LCW that the decision to include panchayats within municipal limits was taken without following due process or principles of natural justice. He stated that panchayats are representative bodies established by the Constitution and, therefore, their dissolution, or the inclusion of villages within city limits should be done with the participation and consent of the village panchayats, which, he says, are more accessible to people than municipal corporations. "Also, the property tax under the panchayat is around INR 300-500, which will increase to around INR 3,000 under the jurisdiction of the VMC, without any upgrade in services." Another reason Bhatt mentioned for the public opposition to the inclusion move was the fact that the VMC had failed to serve the villages previously included within the city limits. "Under such circumstances, inclusion of new villages does not serve any purpose. The people will lose the services they are getting under the panchayat in exchange of a substandard service by the VMC."

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

2992

ha

Starting Year

2019

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Urban Development and Urban Housing Department; Vadodara Municipal Corporation

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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