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Villagers may send notice to Maruti to stop work at plant site

Rabari said it is feared that a confrontation was likely between the villagers and the company if it continued with construction work at the site.

Ahmedabad: Locals opposed to Maruti Suzuki India (MSI)'s proposed car manufacturing plant at Hansalpur village are likely to send a notice to the company asking it to stop construction at the site, an activist associated with the protest said.

"We have decided to send a notice to MSI asking them to halt construction at the proposed site as the matter regarding the land is sub judice," Jamin Adhikar Andolan convenor Sagar Rabari told PTI here Wednesday.

Rabari said it is feared that a confrontation was likely between the villagers and the company if it continued with construction work at the site.

MSI has already started building a boundary wall at the proposed site. It claims it has purchased and received possession of the land for the Hansalpur plant.

"Villagers claim they have the right to the land purchased by Maruti from the state government, as it was theirs earlier.

"However, the Gujarat government claims that the land sold to MSI was wasteland," Rabari said.
The villagers are also opposed to Gujarat government's plan to convert the area around the MSI plant into a Special Investment Region (SIR).

On May 25, villagers had organised a rally condemning the state government's plan to convert fertile, cultivable land into an SIR.

As part of its industrial policy, the state government has notified the Mandal-Becharaji SIR to be developed as an "auto and knowledge hub". The SIR also covers MSI's car plant at Hansalpur village, located on the Viramgam-Becharaji highway.

Villagers, under the banner of the Jamin Adhikar Andolan, Azad Vikas Sangathan, Seva Sahkari Mandal and Dudh Utapadan Mandal will submit a memorandum on Friday to SIR's Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Patel.

The memorandum, copies of which will also be sent to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the state revenue, industries and panchayat ministers, asserts that the villagers will not part with their land for the proposed plant and the SIR.

Nor will any government officials be allowed to visit the area, the memorandum adds.

It is learnt that the farmers from 44 villages of five talukas in Ahmedabad and Mehsana districts will hold a rally on June 18 if the state government does not take any action on the SIR issue.

Former MLA Kanu Kalsariya, who left BJP and is now supporting the farmers' cause, meanwhile said that the state government is interested only in furthering industrialists' interests.

"Fertile land is being given to corporates for industrial projects... The state government is not providing Narmada water for irrigation... And as if that was not enough, they have also enacted a draconian Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Act, which will put farmers in the dock," Kalsariya said.


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