Hundreds of farmers from 22 villages comprising the proposed Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) will be taking out a padayatra beginning October 29 and submit a memorandum to Ahmedabad district collector on November 3, claiming that the land being acquired by the state government for development of SIR was not the government land but it belonged to local farmers.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jameen Adhikar Andolan-Gujarat(JAAG) representative Sagar Rabari, who is mobilising the farmers, said that huge tracts of surplus land were taken from landlords of the area during the land reform movement in 1950s, and it was allotted to landless people and farm labourers of the area.
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He said that while the allottees began farming the land, the titles of the land were not entered into the revenue records under their names due to the government’s mistake.
Rabari said that it was this land which, the officials say, belonged to the state government. But the farmers were having documents to show that these were allotted to them and they had been cultivating it for over 60 years.
According to Rabari, the farmers would not get any compensation if these lands are acquired by the government because the names of the cultivators are not in revenue records.
“The names of the cultivators in revenue records is a must for them to claim compensation in case of acquisition by the government,” said Rabari.
Rabari said that the farmers had objected in 2012 when the government took a decision to acquire 28,000 hectares of the land for development of DSIR. The state government then promised on January 1, 2014 that Ahmedabad collector would hold a personal hearing in concerned villages and verify documents if the land cultivated by them had been allotted to them or not. Based on collector’s report, the farmers were to be paid compensation. But the Ahmedabad collector, he said, had so far not held any meeting with the farmers.