Kathwada Panchayat in Gujarat Protests against Inclusion in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

Reported by

Rejitha Nair

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

November 26, 2021

November 26, 2021

Updated on

November 26, 2021

Location of Conflict

Kathwada

Ahmedabad

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

Inclusion of panchayat into city limits

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

24700

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

863

ha

Starting Year

State

Gujarat

Sector

Land Use

In June 2019, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) passed a resolution proposing the inclusion of the BopalGhuma municipality, ChilodaNarod and Kathwada panchayats and parts of Sanathal, Visalpur, Aslai, Geratnagar, Bilasiya, Ranasan and Khodiyar villages into Ahmedabad city limits, inciting protests from residents of Kathwada village. Following the announcement, the Kathwada panchayat passed a resolution and submitted a written appeal to the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department in December that year, expressing their unwillingness to be part of the AMC. Nonetheless, in June 2020, the department issued a notification announcing the inclusion of all the proposed areas within AMC limits, including Kathwada village, and also carved out seats for the purpose of AMC elections. The notification added 39 square kilometres to Ahmedabad city, increasing its total area to 505 square kilometres. The Kathwada panchayat filed a petition before the High Court of Gujarat challenging the notification. The case is pending. The residents of Kathwada have opposed the merger on four counts: first, they do not see any merit in the inclusion. According to reported statements of the villagers, they are able to effectively govern themselves with the grants they receive from both the tehsil and district authorities. The village is fairly developed with wellmaintained roads and 24hour electricity supply. Inclusion within the AMC, they suspect, will substantially increase the property tax and processing fees for various amenities without proportionally increasing the benefits. The residents highlighted the situation of villages like Vejalpur, Jodhpur, Ghandlodia, Gota, Tragad, Hebatpur and Chharodi, which were included in the city limits in 2007 but till date, the AMC is struggling to complete water and sewerage projects in these areas. Second, the residents fear losing their livelihood. At least 5,000 farmers in Kathwada depend on agriculture. They fear that inclusion within the city limits will result in the takeover of grazing and common land by the real estate developers. Third, the residents claim they were not consulted before the decision of the merger was passed. Fourth, according to the people, the panchayats are more accessible and effective in resolving issues relating to civic amenities and infrastructure of the village. The panchayat office is located within the village and the officials know the local population. On the contrary, the office of the AMC is miles away from Kathwada and the residents believe the corporation will take longer to resolve their issues as the village has limited representation in the AMC. Amul Bhatt, former chairperson of the AMC standing committee, has justified the move, stating that some of the areas proposed for the merger have poor drainage system and water supply and need better roads, water connection and stormwater drainage. According to him, once under the AMC, these areas will get AMCrun gardens, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, healthcare centres and doortodoor garbage disposal facilities. Meanwhile, the leader of opposition in the AMC, Dinesh Sharma, has called this move a political gimmick to benefit the builders lobby while also increasing the revenue for the AMC without incurring costs. In 2021, Hitesh Barot, the current AMC standing committee chairperson, outlined projects worth INR 2,052 that will be delivered by the end of the current financial year. A major thrust is said to be on the newly included areas of BopalGhuma and Kathwada. However, the proposed plan and the quantum of fund allocated to Kathwada is yet to be made public.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for withdawal of the government notification that includes the seven villages within the city limits.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

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

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Constitutional Law, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Constitution of India, 1950
Article 243(Q)(2) [Governor can notify an area as a transitional area based on population, land revenue, etc]
Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949
Section 3A(2) [A notification made under Article 243(Q)(2) will continue to be in force until otherwise modified]
Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976
Section 3 [State Government may declare by notification any area in the state to be a development area for the purpose of securing planned development]; Section 5 [State government to constitute an authority for such areas, known as Area Development Authority. Such authority must have representatives of the local authorities]
Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1993
Section 100 [Village Panchayats may make provisions that are likely to promote health, comfort, safety and the social and economic well-being of the area]; Section 104 [No person may erect any buildings within limits of the village without prior permission of the panchayat]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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 free prior informed consent

Use of old/outdated laws

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Gujarat

Case Number

SCA No. 8372 of 2020

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Kathwada panchayat

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:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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