Slum Dwellers in Gujarat Displaced by Sabarmati Riverfront Await Rehabilitation

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

August 5, 2021

Location of Conflict

Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Urban Development (Other than Smart Cities)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

10500

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

30

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Gujarat

Sector

Infrastructure

The Sabarmati River Front Development project was envisaged in 1997 when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) established a special purpose vehicle, the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL), to develop the city's riverfront. Its 1998 proposal not only sought to ambitiously redevelop the riverfront but also brought the relocation and rehabilitation of the riverfront urban poor within the scope of the project. It recommended that six affected slum families be resettled on the riverfront itself, stating that displacing them more than 23 kilometres from their present site would affect their livelihoods negatively. A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Gujarat high court in April 2005, articulating the rights of the slum dwellers. The court ruling gave a stay order, asking the government authorities to spell out their plans for resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) and to not evict any family until further orders by the court. However, the rights articulated in the PIL were entirely absent in the rulings. For the next three years, the AMC continued with the construction of the riverfront project without finalising the R&R plan. Despite the stay order, the AMC tried to evict some families from different riverfront slums. The corporation finally submitted its R&R policy to the high court in mid2008. After three phases of resettlement in 200910, the AMC carried out demolitions in the riverfront slums in May 2011. On not having any housing facility or an alternative interim rehabilitation, over 1,000 families, including children and elderly people, were forced to live under the sweltering sun next to their demolished houses. Currently, the displaced people are facing increased unemployment and poverty. The resettlement had profound impact on their livelihood due to the distance. The average distance of the resettlement site from the central city area is seven kilometres. By 2017, at least 25 persons had committed suicide driven by depression because of loss of livelihood. Moreover, slum dwellers who were promised rehabilitation in new flats but were not given any were asked to reside on the grounds of Ganesh Nagar. They were given temporary plots to build a wooden shack with tarp but promised that new homes would be built. There has been no proper census of the hutments in the area and the plan grossly understates the number of affected people at least by 10,000 units, according to Deepak Babaria from Ahmedabad, who has worked closely with the riverfront dwellers' association for rehabilitation. In March 2021, tenders for an extension of the riverfront were floated. The new stretch is set to include an international park, a ferry service and a water taxi, among others. With all the slum hutments already cleared out from the area, the project will not involve rehabilitation and relocation at all and stands to proceed without any roadblocks, despite numerous slum dwellers still waiting to be rehabilitated.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand for rehabilitation, Complaint against procedural violations

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land), Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1796.3

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other

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:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Lack of legal protection over land rights

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

SCA No. 6280/2005, WP (PIL) No. 18/2012

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Self-immolation/suicide

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

By 2017, at least 25 persons had committed suicide driven by depression because of loss of livelihood.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

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:

HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited, Jhaveri Associates, Advance Engineering Consultants

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Sabarmati Nagrik Adhikar Manch, Rahethan Adhikar Manch, St. Xavier's Social Service Society

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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