Updated: September 13, 2019 12:17:02 am
Farmers from 22 villages of Navsari protested against the Bullet train project and chanted slogans, “Jaan Denge Par Jamin Nahi” (We will give our lives but not our land) outside the office of the Prant officer of Jalalpore in Navsari district. They later handed him a memorandum.
Around 25 hectares of land in 22 villages in Navsari district are to be acquired for the project, which means over 500 farmers would lose their land. The farmers began receiving notices issued under Section 135 D of the Gujarat Land Revenue Code, from the local land acquisition officer, seeking farmers’ consent to give up land for the project.
The farmers were to put forth their objections before officials within 30 days of issue of notice. But they say the notices reached them after the stipulated time.
The affected farmers, under the banner of Khedut Samaj, Gujarat, walked to Navsari district collector’s office Wednes-day, and on not finding the collector there, went to Jalalpore Prant office. They protested, chanting slogans, and also handed a memorandum to Prant officer V K Sambad, objecting to procedure adopted by authorities to acquire land from them.
Navsari division executive president of Khedut Samaj, Gujarat, Siddharth Desai said the notices issued began reaching them only after that time period. “The 135 D notice given by the land acquisition officer for acquiring land is termed as final notice, and in it they have mentioned that those farmers who had objections should be present before the official within 30 days. The notice was dispatched on June 15, 2019 to the affected farmers, but they have begun receiving the notices only since August 13, 2019 onwards,” Desai said. “Till now authorities have not declared the compensation amount for the land. This notice is technically termed final notice and if during the 30 days time period no objection is raised to the authorities, they can acquire the land.”
Desai further alleged that “the land acquisition officials also made changes in the saat-baar (record of rights) documents and showed the land as already having been acquired. “We have not given our consent to give our land,” he said. “The authorities are doing it illegally and are forcing us to give the land. Even till now the authorities have not informed us the compensation amount. This is a violation of the Land Acquisition Act 2013. We will protest and not give our land for (the bullet train project).”
Managing Director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) Achal Khare, when asked about land acquisition issues , at a media interaction in Ahmedabad, said, “In Navsari, the issue is related to Jantri (government document on the market price of land) rates. Unfortunately, the rates of Navsari are the lowest among the eight districts (where land is being acquired). In whatever interactions I had with the people there, it is not that they do not want to give land for the project. They are not against project. The main issue for them is only with the compensation.”
Khare said a joint measurement survey in Navsari district had been completed.
Elaborating about land acquisition in the state in general, he said, “In Gujarat, there are 198 villages and among them the problems are limited to only 15 villages.” He said the last Jantri revision by the state government was conducted way back in 2011. “We are talking to the state government and the chief minister (Vijay Rupani) and we are trying to reach a solution. I am hopeful that we will be able to crack this issue by November-December and will acquire 70-80 percent of the land.”