The Bhavnagar district administration on Monday imposed prohibitory orders in 11 villages of Ghogha and Bhavnagar talukas of the district in view of the ongoing attempts by Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) to develop three lignite mines there. The area has been witnessing protests from local farmers over possession of the land which was acquired by the public sector unit nearly two decades ago.
The notifications issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits assembly of four or more persons without prior permission of authorities in these villages. Similarly, the notification issued under Sections 37 (3) and 33 (1) (b) of the Gujarat Police Act 1951 respectively ban procession and public meetings without prior permission of authorities and give authorities powers to block roads and streets.
“The Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd had acquired land in Badi, Hoidad, Malekvadar, Padva, Khadsaliya, Thalsar, Lakhanka, Thordi, Rampara, Surka, Aalampar villages of Bhogha and Bhavnagar rural talukas in 1997 but villagers have not given up possession of the said land till date. The company is to undertake the process of acquiring the land in the said villages and take its possession during eight days beginning from April 9, 2018 and up to April 16. A conflict with local residents is possible at the time of acquiring land in the said villages. They may assemble and move from one place to another place to stop the process of land acquisition and affect the law and order. In such circumstances, it is felt necessary to issue a notification empowering (authorities) to block any road-track, street, square etc in the 15-kilometre radius of Badi-Padva village for maintaining law and order,” stated the notification issued by the office of Additional District Magistrate of Bhavnagar.
The administration has also extended the notification banning processions and public meetings to April 18.
“We have issued the orders based on letters of the SP of Bhavnagar to maintain law and order in the area,” said Additional District Magistrate Umesh Vyas. But Bhavnagar SP Pravin Mal said the prohibitory orders are part of precaution.
Incidentally, residents of these villages had clashed with police on April 1 as GPCL sought to take possession of land for developing three lignite mines.
Meanwhile, Kanaksinh Gohil, who is leading the protests by the villagers, said they will continue their protest.
“They are not allowing us to go near the places where machines have started mining. But we sought permission to stage dharna at the office of Ghogha mamlatdar and once we get the permission, we shall sit on dharna there,” he said.