Gandhinagar: Over 5,000 farmers on Thursday
submitted a memorandum to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi
demanding cancellation of permission given to Nirma Ltd for
setting up a cement plant in Bhavnagar district.
Nirma Ltd is building a cement plant with a capacity of
1.91 million tonnes per annum, along with its captive power
and coke oven plant, near Padhiarka village in Mahuva taluka
of Bhavnagar district.
Farmers from the villages in vicinity of the upcoming
project, under BJP MLA Dr Kanubhai Kalsariya, had taken out a
rally on March 3 in protest against the Nirma plant.
Kalsariya, who has gone against the party line in
protesting against the project, said he was not "satisfied"
with talks with the chief minister who "refused" to give any
"commitment" to the farmers who had walked over 350 km from
Dholiya village in Mahuva to Gandhinagar in a bid to save
their agriculture land.
"Modi said the matter was in the court and whatever it
decides, the government would abide by it. He did not give
any commitment to farmers," said Kalsariya while addressing
mediapersons after meeting the CM.
"This is not only the question of farmers of Mahuva. The
voice of farmers across Gujarat was being suppressed and their
land was being given to the industries without consulting
them", he alleged.
The Mahuva MLA said the agitation against the government
policy of promoting industries would continue and the farmers
would take it to other parts of the state.
Besides seeking immediate cancellation of permission
given to the plant, the memorandum also said that the land and
water bodies were natural resources which cannot be acquired
only to be given to industries.
The farmers also want the state government to "ask"
the Centre to "cancel" the setting up of a nuclear power plant
in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar.
Over 200 people of Mithivirdi, Jaspara, Mandva and
Khadarpara of Talaja taluka of Bhanvnagar also joined the
rally of farmers opposing the 6000 MW nuclear power project,
proposed to be set up in the area.
They also demanded that the area surrounding Badarkha
village in Ahmedabad district should not be declared as
a pharmaceutical zone and an upcoming chemical zone in Bhal
region in Khambhat be "suspended".
The farmers are protesting against the cement plant
alleging that if allowed to be completed the plant would
destroy their agriculture and animal husbandry, besides
causing irreparable damage to the environment.
Nirma was given 268 hectares of land for setting up of
the cement plant besides more than 3,000 hectare for mining
lease in the surrounding areas of the district.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court yesterday refused to
stay the notice issued by the Union Ministry of Environment
and Forests (MoEF) to Nirma Ltd to halt work at the cement
plant at Mahuva in Bhavnagar district.
The MoEF on March 12 ordered "permanent suspension of
work" with regard to 1.91 million tonne per annum capacity
cement plant of Nirma Ltd, along with its captive power and
coke oven plant near Padhiarka village in Mahuva taluka of