Political turn to stir against Nirma cement project

Political turn to stir against Nirma cement project
Published: 24 March 2011

The ongoing argument by farmers against the construction of a cement factory by Nirma Ltd in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district might take a political turn.

Modi’s partyman Kannu Lal Kalsaria, the area member of the state legislative Assembly who is leading the campaign, has accused the CM of colluding with Nirma and trying to destroy the lives of farmers by taking away their land in the name of development.

“He (Modi) is suppressing the truth, along with Nirma, in the name of development. Narendra Modi had asked me to find a middle path and accept the construction of the plant in the village. If Narendra Modi can explain how this plant will not affect the lives of farmers in the region, I will withdraw from the movement,” Kalsaria told reporters. And, he was speaking at a Youth Congress office.

The dispute took a fresh turn on March 18, when the Supreme Court said it would not lift a stay on the project, in Mahuva village of Bhavnagar district. Area farmers contend the project would ruin the water table and agricultural land. The SC directed foration of a five-member committee of experts and scientists, to visit the area and give a report. The Gujarat government has given an in-principle clearance of 3,460 hectares to the company for mining of limestone in the area.

Kalsaria met Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh with Sanat Mehta, a former (Congress) finance minister of Gujarat, and said people from his party had asked him to resign from the legislature, since he had dared to go against the party line.