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2 million in Gujarat displaced due to development projects: study

Posted by Ramoo on March 14, 2007

http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsi…

FIGURE THIS: Vadodara-based Centre for Culture and Development lists displacements in Gujarat right from 1947 to 2004

Ayesha Khan

Vadodara, March 12: EVEN as a national debate rages on the rehabilitation package for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a study by the Vadodara-based Centre for Culture and Development (CCD), is a stark reminder of the toll taken by displacements due to development projects. The study details all displacements in Gujarat from 1947 to 2004, including the ever-debatable Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), and says around 2 million people, a neat five percent of state’s population, were displaced as 32 lakh hectares of land was used up for development projects in all these years.

The study, also carried out in Orissa, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala, took two years to be completed in Gujarat. Lancy Lobo, sociologist and CCD director, said that the study becomes all the more necessary, as the country is still debating a National Rehabilitation Policy that has yet to see the light of day. Also, experts feel that with SSP hogging the limelight in Gujarat, equal focus is needed on the impact of other development projects, for industries, mines, sanctuaries, or even roads and transport systems, which have induced displacement.

The report, which was prepared after studying the state gazetteer, revenue records, using the Right to Information (RTI) Act and also carrying out field studies across the state to survey the condition of those displaced, will now be released.

According to the report, the land acquisition in Gujarat has been divided into four phases; first from 1947 till 1960, secondly during 1961-1980 where the focus was agriculture, industrial development and urbanisation, the ’80s decades witnessed agriculture bearing the brunt of development works, and from 1992-2004, the focus was again on agriculture through SSP, and industry through SEZs. And of the total land acquired, 61 per cent has been used for big and medium dams, 23 per cent for transport and communications, six per cent for industries, four per cent for urban development and a miniscule 2 per cent for human resources.

Interestingly, the study reports that it is after 1990 that the state witnessed a larger transition of cultivable lands for non-agricultural uses. The highest increase in land compensation in South Gujarat, along the national highway, was recorded during this period. But the per capita receipt in the region has declined, suggesting a greater displacement of the people in the wake of the industrialisation of the districts, i.e. Navsari and Valsad, affecting the tribals the most. At the same time, the highest compensation was recorded in Jamnagar for land acquired by the state government on behalf of industrial giants Reliance Industries Limited and Essar Limited. Land values also rose in other districts of Saurashtra and Kutch, like Bhavnagar and Rajkot, due to the quick development of the industries along the coasts and the State highway.

The quantum of acquisition has remained higher in backward districts, mostly due to cheap and easy availability of land. “This has resulted in trends such as the government acquiring more than 35 per cent of the geographical area in Narmada and Bharuch districts,” observed the report. “People have been neglected in the name of development and national interest. It is not just the economic cost, but social and cultural deprivation, which has to be addressed,” said Lobo.

Maximum displacements are from Central Gujarat
NEARLY 2.5 million persons in Gujarat, i.e., five percent of the total population of the state are affected or displaced. Sixty per cent of this figure is due to water-related projects, 23 per cent due to transport and communication systems; and 7 per cent is due to industries. Forty per cent of the 18,700 villages of Gujarat are affected, some partially and others totally.

About 4,32,636 families in Gujarat have been displaced so far due to various development projects. And the regional share of displaced families comes to 20.23 per cent in North Gujarat, 38:42 % in Central Gujarat, 32:30 % in South Gujarat and 10:5 % in Saurashtra and Kutch.

Source: Centre for Culture and Development, Vadodara

2 Responses to “2 million in Gujarat displaced due to development projects: study”

  1. Bharat patel said

    Subject: Displacement of 10,000 Fisherfolk on the Mundra-Anjar-Mandvi Coast from their livelihoods and habitat by the Special Economic Zone.

    Within Gujarat Kutch and Saurashtra contribute substantially to the fishing production of the country. Gujarat’s fishing hub in Veraval in Saurashtara accounted for more than one quarter of the country’s total produce with 6,50,828 tonnes in 2001-02. Kachchh accounts for the longest coastline 406 kms or 25.37 per cent of the total shoreline of the state

    The traditional fisher folk from the Wagher(Muslim community are currently doing fishing on the below mentioned 10 harbtheirs:

    Sr. Harbtheir Village Taluka
    1. Randh Bhadreshwar Mundra
    2. Bawdi Kukadsar Mundra
    3. Juna Shekhadia Mundra
    4. Luni Luni Mundra
    5. Goyarsama Goyarsama Mundra
    6. Vira Vira Anjar
    7. Bharudiya Bhadreshwar Mundra
    8. Kutdi Navinal Mundra
    9. Tragdi Tragdi Mandvi
    10. Jarpara Jarpara Mundra

    They would like to draw ytheir attention to the following facts:

    The State Government (of Gujarat) permitted the setting up of Adani Ports Limited, in order to develop the coastal strip area of Kutch – Mundra, Anjar and Mandvi Talukas. After this permission, land on a large scale was provided in 1993, to develop the harbtheir. Construction too began immediately starting with process of making the land even for making jetty and other facilities.

    Further to this, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was declared in Mundra taluka in accordance with the State industrialisation policy. Once again, Adani Ports Limited theyre confirmed as developers of this SEZ on the Mundra coastal area. And thus land bordering the Kuth Coast is being made available to the sanctioned SEZ, by the State Government.

    The above-mentioned harbtheirs of Mundra, Anjar and Mandvi where currently fishing is done are situated under suggested/allotted places of SEZ. The State Government has allotted this land for the development of industries. This allotment implies that they the families pursuing fishing in this region will have to evacuate from this area. It is in this area, they, 939 fisher folk families of 10 harbtheirs, have been pursuing fishing as an occupation for the last 400-500 years. They are supporting their families through this occupation.

    The fishermen families of Mundra region produce totally 16520 tones fish every year and from this production worth Rs. 98240000 (Rupees Nine Crores Eighty Two Lacs Forty thousand) annually. These harbtheirs have contributed note worthy to the overall fish production of Kutch district. During the year 2003-04 the total fish production of these 10 harbtheirs was 16520 tonnes vis-à-vis the overall fish production of Kutch being 72054. The contribution of this region was 23 % in the total fish production of the Kutch district.

    If the fishermen of these 10 harbtheirs are removed/evacuated from this area, about ten thousand people, depending on sea land and the coast in this area will become unemployed due to this notification/allotment to the SEZ. Under the Provision 19 of the Indian Constitution, every Indian citizen has the Right to do any occupation or any business and every Indian citizen is given the Fundamental
    Right to do business anywhere in India. This seacoast is the base of their bread and butter. Under Provision 21 of the Indian Constitution, everyone is given the Right to protect oneself so if this livelihood/ occupation is snatched away from them, a situation will arise where their family members will be starving. It is a great paradox and a serious matter when people who are now earning breads for their families will be unemployed when the Government of India has enacted a National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the current year.

    These people do fishing by using different techniques. Many fishermen fish by use of boat and many others do fishing on foot. Fishing on foot means fishing on the coast bettheyen tide and ebb phases. In all, 497 fishermen do fishing using boats and 442 fishermen do fishing on foot.

    The above-mentioned harbtheirs, situated on the land are not recognised as revenue land and not served by any of the basic services of the Government as it is near the seacoast. On this land and in this area, they have been fishing since years. They live here for 9 to 9.5 months by constructing houses on seacoast. They do this so that they can easily carry their boats from the coast to sea. They hardly live for 2.5 to 3 months in their native villages. After fishing and separating them, they dry the fish which requires vast expanse of land for this process. After drying, the fish is packed and sold in the market. It is essential that this land be near the coast. This process can not be done in their native village since this amount of land is not available there. Moreover, other people of the village cannot tolerate the foul smell arising due to the processing of fishes.

    The seacoast of these harbtheirs is very important for them because such natural creeks of this seacoast are not found anywhere else. They can land their boats in these natural creeks and also keep them there. They have also the complete knowledge of sea here as they have been living in this area for many years. They are they’ll familiar with the creeks of this area, so areas are very important for their occupation, economic prosperity and survival of their family.

    Besides this, vast areas of mangroves exist on these coasts, these mangroves play a vital role in the production of fishes since fish varieties like Bull, Lobster, Crabs, etc kinds of fishes are bred under these mangroves. This fact has also been proved scientifically. It has also been proved that salinity is also decreased due to presence of mangroves. It is theyll known that the trees grown on this seacoast protect the coast and coastal villages from natural calamities like Tsunami or Cyclones. With the declaration of SEZ, vast areas of mangroves are being cut and removed to make way for industries. This move is a dangerous one for the ecological and environmental balance of the entire coast. As mentioned above, It could affect adversely the entire area in several ways.

    As mentioned above, these natural creeks of this area play an important role for landing of their boats. But these natural creeks are also being blocked currently by raising retaining or soil walls on them. This is done for reclaiming the land for the use of SEZ. These walls are built on “Abhanwadi”, “Kutdinar” and “Hajamno” creeks, etc., which are mentioned here with in the map.

    According to their knowledge, the land allotted under the SEZ recently is of 11 villages and measuring about 2789.76 Hectares. The land of 8 villages under the Forest Department is also included in this demanded land which measures about 1576.81 hectares out of the total land. Much of this land is on the seacoast. It becomes important to note that this land is under the Category 1 of Coastal Zone Regulations Act (CRZ) and hence this allotment also violates the CRZ, which is formed to protect the seacoast and sea life

    They have no objection towards development of industries to generate and raise income for the State, but it is totally unfair that such development is done at the cost of those who are already employed and sustained in their traditional livelihoods such as us. It is necessary that the members of fishing community progress with the overall development of the region because they are also an essential part of the region.

    Often being treated as the socially excluded the community today is theatened their lone stheirce of Livelihood.faces the fear of being evicted from this settlements

    ALSO

    The development of Adani SEZ as appears is threatening not only the rich but fragile bio diversity of the coast line of the Kutch region, but is also threatening the livelihood of more than ten thousand fisherfolks. The visible changes which are emerging after the start of work to develop the SEZ are as under:

    1. Ruthless cutting of Mangroves and bunding thru Excavator.
    As the creeks are blocked artificially by pilling stones and sacks the mangroves starts to dry up. Which are thereafter being removed by excavators. The plundering of mangroves which has been continuing unabated since 1999 is now raising the salinity level of the water and destroying the breeding ground of the various species of fishes.

    2. 13 villages are loosing grazing grounds which would deal a severe blow to the rural economy especially pastoral community

    3. 5 villages of fishermen with ten thousand population are being forced to give up their profession due to the construction of the SEZ wall, which would completely severe there link with the sea.

    4. According to a recent customs notification, fishermen of a notified port in Gujarat can not fish in other areas. Customs is also harassing the fishermen in various ways.
    5. The SEZ in Mundra is also violating the Coastal Regulation Zone amendment, as passed by the Supreme Court

    6. Only one out of ftheir port for cargoship for laoading and dowinloading was active in their area which is also likely to be closeed following SEZ formation thus putting heavy lose to Govt Exchequer.

    Futher, due to Govt apathy towards the problems of Pagadia Fishermen ( foot fishing community) appox 100 families of Shekhadiya VILLAGE are facing danger to their existence as their traditional way reaching to sea shore for fishing into sea, has been closed by Airsrip of Adani group which they are using since centuries. In this regard representation has been given to Taluka Magistrate on 30.11.06 who paid visit and assured that the traditional way would not be closed. Representation to Disrict Collector Bhuj(Kachchh ) was given on 7.12.06. It has been learnt that Govt had alloted 7920.50 Acres of land of 14 village to Adani Group for SEZ.. Thus, closing of way not only violates Fundamental Right of the Citizen but also against very spirit of MOD signed bettheyen Govt of Gujara and Adani Group which clearly prohibitas any such act. People of all 14 affected areas are bound to sit on dharna in support of their damand which is being ignored by the Govt of Gujarat.Please see map depicting Airstrip being made to cut of foot passage to sea violating MOD). Closure of these traditional ways has compelled the villagers to stage a Dharna before the Mundra Mamlatdar’s office which is still going on.

    In the above context, They put forth below their strong demands:

    1. Special Fishing Zones are declared in the area for both fisherfolk families using boats and doing fishing on foot.

    2. The traditional fishing harbtheirs from where fishing activity is going on since centuries should be immediately declared as fishing harbtheirs by the State Government in view of the threat to their displacement.

    3. They, especially the fisher folk families doing fishing on boats should be given rights of passage in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), since most of these walking routes are being closed by the SEZ.

    4. They also demand that the natural creeks should not closed which are essential for their survival. At the same time, special attention should be paid to immediately stop the cutting / removal of mangroves by the developers of the SEZ from this area. To reiterate, These mangroves are vital links for the ecological and environmental balance for the entire coast, as theyll as protecting coastal communities and businesses from possible natural calamities such as cyclonic storms and tsunamis.
    On behalf of the community, I would request you to kindly take note of the perils the community is living with and do the needful to save these otherwise helpless families.

    Regards

    Bharat Patel
    Setu information Center
    Bhadreshwar Tal Mundra
    Kutchh – Gujarat,
    Ph. 02838-282445,
    (M) 09426469803

  2. Appreciate it for blogging this, studying your website I’m impressed how a lot of time you will have attach into it.

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