Maruti Suzuki’s upcoming plant in Hansalpur, Gujarat is in trouble. The villagers of the area are planning to send ‘stop work’ notice to the company as they fear that the fertile land in the region will be lost to the plant and this in turn will affect their livelihood.
The Mandal-Becharji belt in Mehsana district, where the Maruti plant is coming up, has been declared as special investment region (SIR). The main objective of the special investment region (SIR) is to attract global and domestic players to set up industry of international standard and provide substantial employment to local, skilled manpower. It somewhat similar to special economic zones (SEZ) but does not completely focuses on exports.
The SIR provides an option to construct residential units and logistics connectivity along with the industrial and commercial units. The villagers fear that the fertile land in the area will be acquired to build commercial and industrial units. Out of forty gram sabhas (village council), thirty-six passed the resolution on May 31 to oppose this development.
"Already a draft notice has been prepared and villagers are deliberating on the issue and taking legal counsel. Everyone thinks that the coming of the Maruti Suzuki plant at Hansalpur is the root cause of the special investment region (SIR) and are now opposed to having the plant in the region," said a villager in Hansalpur.
"We have already had multiple discussions with the collector of the region and have also sent letters to the company asking them to allow passage to our village. We have asked for land for roads and also some agricultural land has come inside the plot. However, we are yet to receive any feedback either from the government or the company, and if the construction work continues, then the entire purpose of the opposition might be lost," said Ajmalbhai Thakore, the village chief of Hansalpur.