Mahuva area in Bhavnagar district has among the most fertile lands in Gujarat. Unlike most of Gujarat and especially Saurashtra region farmers grow three crops, and exports mangoes, coconuts and other fruits. Moreover, the numerous onion dehydrating plants & cotton gins provide employment to at least 10 000 people. That is the region the Government hard-sells as the ‘silver corridor’ of industrial development.
People of this fertile & prosperous region were naturally shocked to discover that the Government of Gujarat sanctioned a cement plant by Nirma Ltd. And 288 hectares (720 acres) for the factory + 3000 hectares (7500 acres) for limestone mining, that would employ all of 418 people for an investment of Rs. 2500 crore (Rs. 25 billion). The cement plant will devastate land owners, rob farmers & farm labourers of their livelihoods, pollute the air and destroy the pristine coastal & inland ecology. It was only in the last few years that the Government invested tens of millions of public money to construct structures for water conservation & prevention of salinity ingress in this very area.
The People have been resisting plans for this proposed cement factory for the past 2 years. And during the past two months have been declaring their steely resolve by signing with their own blood to show that they oppose any plans to put up this cement factory. Farmers of the Mahuva area along with their elected representative (MLA) Dr. Kanubhai Kalsaria and Gujarat Loksamiti had organised a rally to present these 11,111 signatures in blood and demand scrapping of this anti-people’s cement project today by marching from Sabarmati Ashram to Gandhinagar and presenting the Chief Minister this petition.
However, the state has decided to prevent organising this rally and people are not being allowed to reach Sabarmati Ashram from all over Gujarat. Over 25 buses have been detained on way to Ahmedabad from various parts of the state:
14 buses Ring Rd Circle, Ahmedabad
3 buses near Baroda
2 buses near Bavla, Dist. Ahmedabad
1 bus near Sarkhej Police Stn.
7 buses on way from Bombay
Another bus 1 km from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and news of more are coming in. And so on.
In addition to that, over 400 people had gathered at Sabarmati Ashram who have been detained by the police and moved from the Ashram.
However, People have resolved march or be arrested and will gather again at the Sabarmati Ashram in half hour and try to march to Gandhinagar peacefully, resisting undemocratic methods of the police and government and present the Chief Minister with a memorandum and to release all arrested people from Mahuva.
Please send faxes to the Chief Minister, Home Minister of Gujarat and the Chief Secretary to allow this peaceful march and allow the fundamental rights of a democracry.
Anand, Kapil and Michael
on behalf of the Jal, Jangal, Jamin Bachao Samiti of Mahuva.
Fax: 079 – 23222101
Minister of State,
Fax: 079 -23250235
Shri A. K. Joti,
Fax:079 – 23250305
If the above numbers do not go through, please verify them from elsewhere and send faxes.
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