Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) had acquired 2,059 hectares of land of nearly a dozen villages in Gogha taluka in the 1990s for the purpose of setting up a 2X250MW lignitebased thermal power plant. The plant is to be set up by Bhavnagar Energy Company Limited (BECL) and promoted by GPCL at Padra village of Ghogha taluka. However, with the government seeking possession of the land after over two decades, the farmers have been taken aback. The protesting farmers who have been cultivating this land claim that it is very fertile. They further alleged that BECL also wanted to acquire village pasture land, which is not permissible under the law. The GPCL had acquired land in two batches 1,355 hectare in GhoghaSurka block and 704 hectares of Kharliya block in the late 1990s for the power plant. However, the company did not start the work and the land continued to be cultivated by original owners. The government has acquired the land in Badi, Padva, Hoidal, Malekvadar, Morsal, Thoradi, Rampar, Surka, Alapar, Khadasaliya, Thadsar and Lakhanka villages.
On April 1, farmers clashed with the GPCL team and police in Padva and Badi villages, forcing the cops to lob at least 40 teargas shells and resort to lathicharge. 50 farmers were detained by the Police. The GPCL team had gone there with earth movers to begin mining of lignite. The farmers wanted GPCL to wait till the High Court disposes of the matter. As a mark of protest, on April 3, 2018, parents of around 900 children withdrew the admission of their wards from school. The villagers are of the opinion that after their land is acquired, they will have to do the odd labour jobs and wouldnt be able to fund the education of their children. They have submitted applications seeking school leaving certificates.
In December 2017, around 100 farmers from 12 villages of Gogha taluka in Bhavnagar protested against the state government's move to take possession of their land. The farmers demanded that the land be returned to them or they be given compensation as per the current prevailing law. GPCL has reported in the media saying that the farmers were given compensation that was five times higher than the market rate two decades ago and that they have rights to land and also representation from the farmers.
Around 2,000 farmers were protesting nonviolently in Bedi against GPCLs possession of the land on 8th April 2018. They had come with plans to give roses to police personnel and State Government officials. But the police used two rounds of teargas shells lobbed to disperse the gathered people.
On April 24th 2018, over 5,000 farmers and their families from Ghogha have written to the President and the Prime Minister requesting ichha mrityu (mass euthanasia) as their land was forcibly acquired by GPCL. The farmers in their letter have requested that they want to be gunned down by Indian Armed Forces. About 50 people from the 12 villages sit on hunger strike at Badi village every day.
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Private and Common
Type of Common Land
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