Farmers Oppose Limestone Mining on Fertile Land in Gujarat's Bhavnagar District

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

May 21, 2021

Location of Conflict

Mahuva

Bhavnagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Limestone Mining

Limestone

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

70000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1640

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Gujarat

Sector

Mining

On January 2, 2019, a protest against limestone mining by 2,000 people in Mahuva tehsil in Bhavnagar district turned violent as the dissenting residents clashed with the police and pelted stones, injuring four policemen. Many farmers were also injured as the police lobbed teargas shells to control the crowd. This is the eighth protest in the past seven months. On December 26, 2018, around 1,000 farmers in 11 villages of Talaja and Mahuva tehsils protested to force UltraTech Cement Limited to suspend its limestone mining operations in their villages. They claim that limestone mining is a threat to their agriculture and livelihood. The 11 villages comprise 70,00080,000 people. In February 2019, residents of six villages in Bhavnagar observed a twoday shutdown to protest against limestone mining in their district. They claim that mining is causing the groundwater to turn saline, making their agricultural lands infertile. The Gujarat high court directed a magistrate's court in Bhavnagar to register an FIR against policemen who cracked down on peacefully protesting farmers. Ultratech received clearance for mining from the state government in January 2018, despite protests from several villagers. The company had acquired 1,714 hectares of land in the district between 1999 and 2001 for mining limestone and supplying it to its cement plant in Rajula tehsil in neighbouring Amreli district. Of this, around 1,640 hectares was private agricultural land, while the remaining was government wasteland. The company has also been trying to start mining from its 193hectare BambhorTalli lease area in Talaja tehsil but has faced resistance from farmers here as well as they claim the land is fertile agricultural land. During the grant of clearance, the company was ordered to rehabilitate 147 families and provide a house to each family, bearing a total expenditure of INR 12.25 crore or as per the norms of the LARR Act, 2013, whichever is higher. The affected people allege that Ultratech has so far not offered any rehabilitation or compensation to them. In April 2020, clashes again broke out between the farmers and the police, leaving both injured. The clash broke out when the villagers tried to disrupt mining activity and the police used teargas shells to prevent disruption. On September 24, 2020, the National Green Tribunal dismissed a plea filed against the grant of environmental clearance, stating that the project proponent had duly issued public notice and had received the consent of the panchayats. In February 2021, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre on this order.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for promised compensation, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

60

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

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, Other, Environmental 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:

Violation of LARR Act, Non-payment of promised compensation, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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)

Supreme Court of India

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Lathi charge/tear gas/pellets

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

Bhavnagar police used violence on peacefully protesting farmers, several of whom suffered fractured bones and injuries to the spinal cord.

Date of Violation

January 2, 2019

Location of Violation

Mahuva tehsil

Nature of Protest

Stone pelting, Strikes, Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Gujarat government, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

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:

UltraTech Cement, Aditya Birla Group

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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