6th October 2015
Resisting Urbanisation, Rejecting Urbanisation
Ground report from Gujarat
“The rate of urbanisation in Gujarat, as per the Census 2011 is 43%, up from 37% in 2001. This makes Gujarat one of the fastest growing urbanised states in India, according to the Census.” This is supposed to be a positive indicator – indicating growth, development and growing prosperity.
However, 42 villages around Junagadh city (part of Junagadh and Vanthali blocks), which are to be included in the Junagadh Urban Development Authority (JUDA), are against this move and are agitating to get them removed from the JUDA. This comes on the heels of villages in Surat rejecting their inclusion in Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) and in Himmatnagar against inclusion in Himmatnagar Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Their main contention being: they want to continue with their occupation as agriculturalists and inclusion in Urban Development Authority will automatically mean a deduction of nearly 40% of their land, making agriculture next to impossible and leaving them with the only option of selling their land. At the very least this means that ‘one of the fastest urbanising states in India’ is doing so against the wishes of its people.
The agitation in Junagadh is being led by the Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti. They requested Khedut Samaj – Gujarat and JAAG to give them an understanding of the provisions of the Town Planning Act, 1976 and how it is likely to impact their lives as villages, agriculturalists, and pastoralists. Sagar Rabari, Rajnibhai Dave and Persis Ginwalla from Khedut Samaj and JAAG attended this meeting and gave their inputs on the subject. A meeting was called in Junagadh city on 24th September 2015 for this purpose, which was attended by nearly 1,200 people from all 42 villages. Subsequent to the meeting, it was resolved to publicly and collectively raise their objection to their inclusion in JUDA. They have resolved to meet again on 7th October and march in a rally to the Collector’s office in Junagadh city to hand over memoranda from all 42 villages opposing and rejecting their inclusion in JUDA and reiterating their desire to remain a village panchayat.
Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti, Junagadh
Khedut Samaj – Gujarat
Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat (JAAG)