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Guj HC to hear farmers' claim on Maruti land on June 20

Farmers from Hansalpur in Mandal district have approached the HC staking claim on over 200 acres of land allotted to MSI by GIDC

Premal Balan  |  Ahmedabad 

Narendra Modi-led government in Gujarat may be less concerned about opposition by farmers of the Mandal-Bechraji Special Investment Region (SIR), which also houses Maruti Suzuki India's (MSI's) new manufacturing plant.

But it is likely to face some serious issues as farmers from Hansalpur in Mandal district, have approached Gujarat High Court staking claim on over 200 acres of land which was allotted to MSI by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).

MSI is also in process of acquiring over 700 acre of land in Vithlapur village of Mandal which the company could use for expansion of manufacturing capacity.

The petitions filed by the farmers are likely to come up for hearing on June 20 in the High Court. The farmers of Hansalpur village in their petitions have sought appointment of a Commissioner who would decide on the question on possession of disputed land which was allotted to Maruti Suzuki India by the state government.

Farmers have claimed that over 200 acres, out of the 640 acres of land that was allotted by the state government to Maruti Suzuki in Hansalpur, belonged to them since early 1950s.

However, the state government, through a statement filed in a local court, has denied the claims of the farmers and said that no land was allotted to them in the year 1954. The statement filed by Mandal mamlatdar denied allotment of the land and further claimed that farmers were allotted land in the year 1954 for one year only and therefore, their contention was incorrect.

Farmers have also alleged that there were being threatened by the officers of GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation) and officers of Mamlatdar office to evacuate the disputed land after the the land was allotted to MSI.

In the present case, the dispute involved is in regard to the possession of the land.

"Therefore, report would be necessary to appreciate the evidence on record and, therefore the appointment of Commissioner was required to be done so as to bring on record the correct facts. Therefore, if the Commissioner is appointed the correct facts can be brought on record," the farmers have said in their petitions which will be coming up for hearing before Justice G B Shah on June 20.

"Therefore, unless and until the suit has been fully tried, the rights of the parties have been established, state cannot evict the person without following due process of law," the farmers further claimed in their petition.

They have also claimed that it was an undisputed fact which emerges on record and is substantiated by revenue records maintained by the revenue authorities that they are in possession of a piece of land in question as back as 1941-42 onwards.

According to farmers, the state government’s policy to settle the nomadic tribe, more particularly shepherd granted said piece of land in the year 1954-55 and since then the possession of the property of the petitioner is uninterrupted and have paid revenue for more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, as many as 7,000 farmers from 44 villages of three districts of Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Surendranagar, on Tuesday put up a show of strength by taking out a tractor rally from Vithlapur (100 km from Ahmedabad) in Mandal taluka to state capital Gandhinagar, where they handed over memorandum against the proposed SIR to revenue minister Anandi Patel.

Gujarat government plans to develop Mandal-Bahucharaji belt as a manufacturing investment zone and has drawn up elaborate plans to develop it as a SIR. Coming up over an area of around 530 square kilometers, the Mandal-Bahucharaji SIR is located between the Sanand-Viramgam area on the western side, and Mehsana to its east.

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First Published: Wed, June 19 2013. 17:10 IST
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