Farmers protest proposed cement plant in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Feb 25 (ANI): Farmers and villagers of Mahuva town in Gujarat today carried out a protest march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad against the setting up of a cement plant beside a water body.

Led by Kanubhai Kalsariya, a state legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Mahuva constituency, around 11,111 villagers took part in the rally.

"Around 10,000 to 20,000 people have come from the village to submit a memorandum that those who live near the proposed plant, whose land is getting used and water is getting contaminated, are suffering because of the project. The protest is against Nirma's cement factory, which is coming up near the water body. This is our last request to the government. If the project is not disapproved then we will do a non-violent satyagraha (peaceful protest march) to stop it," said Kalsariya.

Nearly 15 villages and 50,000 people living near the site of the cement plant are likely to be affected.

A voluntary organisation, Gujarat Loksamiti is supporting the people's movement led by Kanubhai Kalsariya.

Despite the protest being carried out peacefully by the villagers, they have been attacked several times by police and even the state government has failed to take any action against the attackers.

"We have come all the way from Mahuva for this protest but were stopped many times in between by the police. Some of us were beaten up; even the women protesters were not spared and beaten up in the absence of women police personnel. They even made personal attacks on me but I somehow survived. These factory people can go down to any level for their project. The government is also putting us down. They even deployed police personnel here to detain us. We were just trying to carry out a peace rally," Kalsariya added.

The Gujarat government has allotted 4,000 hectares of land to the Nirma Group for the cement project in December 2009. The land provisioned for the project included wasteland and grazing land in the villages of Dudheri, Gajarda, Delia and Amlia, located on the coastal belt of Mahuva. (ANI)

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