AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government today rubbished allegations of the Congress regarding forced land acquisition for the Essar group, by claiming that all norms were followed while acquiring land from farmers.
According to an official statement issued by Gujarat Revenue Department today, Essar Power Gujarat Ltd was alloted only 13,746 square metres of grazing land by the state government for their coal corridor project in Khambhalia taluka of Devbhoomi Dwarka district. The grazing land in Nana Madha and Parodiya villages was allotted to Essar on the condition that the company would purchase same amount of land from private parties in those villages and give it to the Gujarat government, the statement said.
The Essar group has fulfilled the condition and the land is still in the possession of the Gujarat government, it added. The statement clarified that Essar Power Gujarat needed around 238 hectares for its coal corridor project in that district, out of which the company purchased around 209 hectares from local farmers, while around 16 hectares has been "awarded" to the company as per norms of the Land Acquisition Act.
According to the statement, the remaining 12 hectares were allotted to the company on June this year, for which, the company paid Rs 17.18 crore to the Gujarat government. The Gujarat Revenue Department statement has been issued in response to allegations of "forced land acquisition" by national spokesperson of Congress Shaktisinh Gohil yesterday, who had claimed that the Essar group had forcibly acquired land of private farmers and government-owned grazing land in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, in collusion with the BJP-led state government.
Gohil had also alleged that Esaar officials along with Gujarat government employees raided three villages during midnight of June 30 to forcibly take possession of farmers' land. Clarifying about the issue, the Gujarat Revenue Department stated that Essar received police protection because some people tried to stall work on the land which was legitimately purchased and acquired by the company. It stressed that the state government did not provide any undue protection to the company. "Thus, all allegations levelled by Gohil are totally baseless and far from the truth. Such allegations are nothing but an attempt to defame the government and seek cheap publicity," the statement added.