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Now, resentment brewing in Bhavnagar

As the Gujarat unit of the “India Against Corruption” movement is preparing for the coming visit to Ahmedabad of social activistAnna Hazare and his supporters on May 26, resentment is brewing among the farmers in Bhavnagar district over the proposed nuclear power plant in the region.

The organisers of the farmers' meet on May 27 at Jaspara village, where the 6000-MW capacity nuclear power plant is scheduled to come up, are planning to approach the social activists to take up their cause also, along with the campaign against corruption and the Jan Lokpal bill.

Hazare thanked

The noted danseuse, Mallika Sarabhai, one of the conveners of the Gujarat unit of the “Indian Against Corruption,” on Wednesday thanked Mr. Hazare for selecting Ahmedabad as one of the dozen destinations to visit from among 230 invitations from different cities and towns in the country for an interaction with the people to know their views on the fight against corruption and the provisions in the proposed bill.

Mr. Hazare, along with social activist Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi and activist Arvind Kejariwal, will be in Ahmedabad for a day, when besides discussing the issues with over 200 intellectuals and citizens and with the grassroots social workers from all over the State, they would also address a public meeting.

The State organisers, however, have certain reservations over Mr. Hazare praising Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and his programmes for rural development, which Sudarshan Aiyengar, the Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, the Gandhian institution, described as the social activist's “hasty and unconsidered opinion” as one requiring to be corrected. “There is nothing Gandhian about the pattern of development in Gujarat, this kind of forced development also breeds corruption,” he said.

“Forced development”

The proposed nuclear power project in Bhavnagar was considered to be on the same line of “forced development” opposed by the “India Against Corruption” movement. The farmers' protest for the project was being spearheaded by the local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Assembly, Kanu Kalsaria, who only last month managed to stall the proposed cement plant by the Nirma industries in the same neighbourhood, with the Supreme Court asking the State government to shift the project elsewhere.

Farmers' meet

The farmers of Jaspara, Mandava, Mithi Virdi and other surrounding villages will be meeting on May 27 to decide their future course of action to oppose the setting up of the nuclear project, which would reportedly require 877 hectares of land — 777 hectares for the plant and 100 hectares for its township. Of the total land to be acquired for the project, 603 hectares fall under fertile double crop category and Dr. Kalsaria said the nuclear plant would threaten the livelihood of the local farmers cultivating the lands, besides posing a permanent danger to their lives as experienced in Fukushima or Chernobyl. “We will oppose a nuclear plant in the neighbourhood tooth and nail,” he said.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 3:55:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/now-resentment-brewing-in-bhavnagar/article2029966.ece

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