New Delhi, May 28: Farmer leaders have warned of “Violent Protests” in Gujarat over the issue of lignite mining by the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) at Bhavnagar.
The state is witnessing agitation since April 1, after the GPCL claimed possession of around 1,414 hectares of land in 12 villages of Ghogha and Bhavnagar talukas.
“Gujarat is sitting on a live volcano. Not only the farmers, but entire rural Gujarat is crying. We are part of the ongoing movement in Bhavnagar. The Kheru samaj of farmers is very strong. They are the ones spearheading the struggle and we are with them,” a PTI story of NDTV quoted All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Atul Anjan as saying.
As per the state government notification, GPCL had purchased a land in Badi, Hoidad, Malekvadar, Padva, Khadsaliya, Thalsar, Lakhanka, Thordi, Rampara, Surka and Aalampar villages of Ghogha and Bhavnagar rural talukas in 1997. But the villagers are yet to give up possession of the said land so far.
Peasants allege that the government is ignoring the land acquisition law while acquiring their land for lignite mining.
“According to the Land Acquisition Act-2013, if a land acquired for any purpose is not utilised within five years, then it has to be given back to the owner or farmers. No state government, including the one in Gujarat, is following the Act. Now the farmers of Bhavnagar are demanding that their land should remain with them as it was not utilised,” PTI quoted AIKS leader Hannan Mollah as saying.
Even though the government claims to have given compensation to the peasants, the farmers allege that many of them were forced to part with their land.
Not only this, the farmers’ leaders also accused the BJP-led government at the centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being hand-in-gloves with corporates and ignoring the plight of the Agri community.
“The environment ministry is just a rubber stamp. Those in the PMO make a proposal for the corporates and get the stamp of the ministry, ignoring the hazard the plant would cause to people and the environment,” Mollah stated.
The farmer leaders caution that taking a cue from the Tuticorin incident which claimed 13 lives, the peasants will intensify their struggle in Gujarat too.
However, they also hope that the Tuticorin incident may pressurise the state government to negotiate to calm down the “massive discontent” within the agriculture community.