Farmers’ Plight After Selling Land for Gift City in 2014: Now They Facing Laborious Struggle

Gift City, located near Gandhinagar, has been in the spotlight for various reasons. Following the relaxation of alcohol consumption rules, there were widespread claims that Gift City would usher in prosperity to the surrounding areas, positively impacting the lives of the residents.

Plight of Shahpur Village Farmers who Contributed Land to Gift City

Concerns arise regarding the condition of farmers from Shahpur village who contributed land for Gift City approximately ten years ago, around 2014. Questions about the compensation they received and their current perspectives on Gift City’s development were posed to these farmers.

Impact of Gift City Circle on Locals

A significant landmark on the way to Gift City is the Gift City Circle. We interviewed Lilaben Maheshbhai Patel, a native of Shahpur, whose land the circle occupies. She laments the adverse effects of the circle’s construction on their lives, leading to destitution.

Life Transformation in Four-Five Years

Lilaben recounts the transformation of their lives over the past four to five years. Previously prosperous with agricultural land, a borewell, a house, and stables, they now face destitution. The land given for the circle, borewell, and building resulted in the loss of their property and livelihood.

Struggles and Challenges of Post-Development Life

Discussing her current situation, Lilaben describes living in a rented house, struggling to pay a monthly rent of 10 thousand rupees. With her husband facing health issues, including shortness of breath and diabetes, and their son working, she engages in sewing work to make ends meet. The family had received minimal compensation for their three and a quarter bighas of land during the co-family gathering at that time.

Farmer’s Grievances Regarding Pending Land Acquisition Cases

Farmer Bharat Patel from Shahpur village asserts that old cases of land acquisition remain unresolved. He recounts that when Gandhinagar became the capital of Gujarat, 400 acres of land were acquired from Shahpur village farmers. Presently leased to Gir Foundation, the land is deteriorating. In 1968, the price for 1 bigha of land was a mere 1000 rupees. Despite 80-90% of Shahpur villagers depending on agriculture, those affected by the acquisition have not received any benefits to date.

Bharat Patel claims that, even after many years, 10 to 15 land acquisition cases are still pending. While he acknowledges and supports the development of Gift City, the government should also consider the interests of the farmers. Patel, whose land was acquired for Gift City, expresses discontent. If the government had acquired the land in 2014, they would have received 1 crore 18 lakh rupees per bigha according to Jantri. A road has been built from Gift City Circle to Gift City by acquiring land from 60 farmers in Shahpur.

Patel suggests that had the government not acquired the land and included it in the Development Plan (DP) and Town Plan (TP), farmers would have benefited. However, now they are left landless, and without land, there’s no Floor Space Index (FSI). Patel emphasizes the substantial difference in FSI between acquired land within Gift City and outside it. While supporting Gift City’s development, he stresses that certain considerations must be taken for the farmers’ welfare.

Bharat Patel highlights his own experience, stating that he agrees with Gift City’s development but urges consideration for farmers. The government had given 1 crore and 18 lakh rupees for his 3800 square meter land according to Jantri. Today, Jantri has doubled. Patel believes that if they had been included in Gift City’s draft TP instead of undergoing land acquisition, farmers would have benefited. He suggests that, if included in the Development Plan now, a 40 percent deduction, as per the rule, would have been beneficial for the farmers who became landless due to the acquisition.

Transformation of Shahpur Village Landscape

In the vicinity of Shahpur village, green fields of wheat, diwela, and maize crops are still visible today, juxtaposed with the high-rise buildings of Gift City. During a visit to this picturesque landscape, we encountered Ashok Patel, a farmer diligently working in his field.

Displacement and Emotional Turmoil

Ashok Patel shared the story of the agricultural prosperity his family once enjoyed, cultivating a variety of produce on their fertile land. However, their contentment turned to despair when they discovered that a road for Gift City development would cut through their farm in 2014. Patel emotionally recounted the emotional toll of losing their land and the futile plea for its preservation.

Land Acquisition and Compensation

Expressing his emotional turmoil, Patel mentioned that the government acquired their land for a meager sum of half a crore, leaving only a fraction of their once-productive fields. Despite assurances of fair compensation, Patel highlighted the stark contrast between the current market value of the land and the amount they received. The memories of their lost land still haunt them whenever they stand on the remaining fields.

Changing Landscape and Roads for Development

Reflecting on the past, Patel narrated how the initial road to Gift City was constructed on government wasteland. However, due to space constraints, a new road was built through their property, resulting in the loss of 50 percent of their remaining space. Patel acknowledged the necessity of the road but emphasized the emotional resistance they felt despite the compensation offered by the government.

Impact of a 45 Percent Reduction on Land and Development

If there is a 45 percent reduction, what will increase in 1 bigha?

He further said, if the land had been acquired today, there would have been a world-sky difference in the price. Development has happened when we gave land for the development of Gift City. Today, if we have that place, how many rupees will yield! Town planning is also going on in the land that we currently have. Even in this land, 45-55 (45 percent ownership of the government-55 percent of the farmer) is being talked about, so we don’t have anything to grow! What is the increase in 1 bigha if 45 percent reduction occurs?

Impact of Government Town Planning on Farmer’s Land

As the government decided to do town planning on farmers’ land, the land has started to decrease. We have preserved the property of our father and grandfather, it is not that we have come here to farm by selling it. It is ours and we have preserved it.

Ambalal Patel, another farmer from Shahpur, acquired 4 bigha of land to build a road to Gift City. Ambalal Patel says, at that time the government paid a price of 2 crore rupees. Currently 45 percent of my land is to be taken as deduction. If the land had not been earmarked for the road earlier and the condition had remained the same, the farmers would have got 50 percent of the land for development now. Now the farmers were unemployed.

How was the land acquisition calculated by the laboring farmer?

Ambalal Patel further said, when my land was acquired, I was farming and now I am doing agricultural labour. I go to weave someone’s okra or other vegetables. I run a part-time shop. At present, if the land had been acquired, 45 percent of the land would have been cut and the final plot of 55 percent would have been given to the farmer. At present, it has been approved to give to the government. We want it to be priced as per TP.

Allegations and Losses in Land Acquisition

Manubhai Patel, a farmer of Shahpur, has made very serious allegations on the issue of land acquisition. He said, my one and a half bigha i.e. 36 guntha land was acquired in the year 2014. For this total compensation was paid in two stages. In the first phase 1 crore 70 lakhs and in the second phase 2 crore 84 lakh rupees were given as compensation.

Manubhai Patel claims that today we are seeing loss in the land that the government took from us. The land which the government had given us for 4 crore rupees is currently available for 15 crore rupees. So we suffered a loss of 11 crores. We have not been given the price according to Jantri, so there has been no change in our standard of living.

Making a serious allegation, Manubhai said, the government had earlier taken 22 bigha of farmers’ land for construction. It is now deforested. At that time only 700 rupees per acre was fixed. His compensation is also pending. The case against 20 people has not been decided. If the government had not taken the land at that time, how many rupees would our land have? At that time no one was allowed to sign with objection. How many rupees would have been received if they were allowed to sign with objection?

Farmer’s Anguish Over Land Acquisition for Gift City

The fury of the farmer who gave the land flared up, and Manubhai Patel expressed, “Gift City is also in the business of grabbing land.” The farmer, lacking education, surrendered his land for road construction. However, the judgment on their case is pending, leaving the farmer frustrated. Manubhai suggests buying all the land worldwide to resolve the issue, advocating against building roads and discouraging business activities. The plea is to acquire all the land available.

Manubhai Patel’s Critique on Government Compensation

Manubhai Patel previously argued that the government’s compensation for land acquisition has not improved the standard of living. He questioned, “Shouldn’t we eat?” citing increased inflation and wedding expenses. He highlighted the rising costs, including expensive cars and high government taxes. The disparity is noted between those without land, who receive government-built houses, and those with acquired land, whose families remain unemployed.

Farmer Raman Patel’s Discontent with Land Compensation

Another farmer, Raman Patel, owned land on the way to Gift City from Shahpur Chowkdi. Expressing dissatisfaction, he stated that Gift City Road was constructed on his land, receiving approximately two and a half crores as compensation. Raman regretted not receiving proper compensation, emphasizing the unfulfilled promise of a good return if the land had not been acquired. Despite transitioning from farming to labor, the standard of living for him remains unchanged. He laments the missed opportunity for TP plots had the land acquisition occurred later.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.