Farmers` tractor rally against SIR at Mandal-Becharaji today

The Gujarat government`s efforts to break the ice with farmers protesting against the Mandal Becharaji Special Investment Region have failed.

Updated: Jun 18, 2013, 09:06 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Ahmedabad: A day after the Gujarat government`s efforts to break the ice with farmers protesting against the Mandal Becharaji Special Investment Region (SIR) turned out to be a damp squib, farmers will on Tuesday step up their agitation.

Around 5,000 people from 44 villages will take out a massive rally on 500 tractors from Vithalpur crossroads to Gandhinagar.

Other organisations and people agitating against land acquisitions in other parts of Gujarat are also expected to join the rally when it reaches Ahmedabad at Sarkhej-Sanand crossroad.

In a bid to avoid any trouble, the district administration in Gandhinagar has prohibited the entry of all private vehicles on roads leading to the secretariat and Chief Minister`s Office from 8 am to 6 pm today.

A proposed Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) plant will come up at the Mandal Becharaji Special Investment Region.

The Gujarat government had invited some farmers yesterday to talk about their opposition to the proposed SIR.

However, the local organisation spearheading the movement was not invited, Convenor of the Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG) Sagar Rabari told a news agency.

"The Gujarat government tried to initiate talks with some people close to the BJP by calling them, without informing genuine local organisations associated with the movement," Rabari had said.

"When this was brought to the notice of local villagers, an emergency meeting was called at Dalod village of Surendranagar district. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that no decision taken by any individuals (who are free to talk to anyone) will be binding on farmers or local organisations, until the government does not formally invite organisations spearheading the movement for talks," Rabari had said in a statement.

The SIR covers a Maruti car plant located at Hansalpur village on Viramgam-Becharaji highway and the Gujarat government wants to develop the region as an auto and knowledge hub.

On June 11, farmers had submitted a memorandum to SIR Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Patel, expressing their reluctance to part with their fertile land for the proposed industrial project.

On June 8, the RSS-affiliated farmers` union Bharatiya Kisan Sangh had supported the villagers` stir by passing a resolution against the Gujarat government`s move to develop the Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region.

(With PTI inputs)