INDORE: Up in arms against land acquisition, farmers from nearly 27 villages, mostly tribal, of Manavar Tehsil of Dhar district on Thursday protested against the acquisition of their land for the proposed cement plant and raised issue related to legality of the project.

Tribal alleged that even after submitting hundreds of applications to officials and local representatives they did not get satisfactory reply. On Thursday hundreds of villagers took out the rally at Main Street of Manavar and reached the SDM office and demanded to clear the stand of government over land acquisition.

Meera of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) alleged that as per the rule to set up any project they need to get approval from the people of the area, here in this case Gram Sabha had passed a resolution opposing the proposed cement factory. “They even fail to produce documents related to approval from Ministry of Environment and Forest for the project and they don’t even have approval from the planning commission,” alleged Meera.

The plant, which is proposed in the scheduled adivasi area is being strongly challenged by the local adivasis – farmers, as thousands of them will be displaced and affected for the plant, its mines and by expansion, pollution activities. All the villages to be affected are in the command area of the Maan Dam of NVDA and the land is fully irrigated.

Chhagan Bhilala, resident of Manawar alleged that dam water meant for rural irrigation is being diverted for the industrial purpose.

Prashant Patidar, who was part of the protest said why fresh acquisition of land is being carried out which will displace hundreds of people, when hundreds of acre of land acquired for Dhar Cement is lying vacant. “The vacant land should be given for the new cement factory instead of acquiring fresh land,” he said.

Meera even raised question over the validity of the project saying that state government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the company for cement plant in October 2010 at Khajuraho Global Investor meet. The validity of the MoU was for three years. She claimed that project has lapsed and even then government is going ahead with the project. “There is no document to show that time period of MoU has been extended,” she said.

Protestors also demand that after the passing of new Land Acquisition Act 2013 all the process of land acquisition should be done under the new law. They alleged that administration is trying to acquire land under the old land acquisition act on the pretext that project was announced and notices for land acquisition was issued before the enforcement of new land acquisition act.



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