Context of our intervention
- The State of Gujarat
Gujarat is one of the fastest-growing states in India. It attracts more and more industries, as well as development and infrastructure projects. Growth in the Industrial sector is as high as 12.5%. Overall, it contributes to 16% of the Industrial production in the country. A ‘Petro-capital’ State of India, Gujarat offers 30% of Petrochemicals, 50% Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals business. It is the largest producer (35%) and exporter (60%) of cotton and is the third largest denim producer in the world. It offers India’s 12% textile exports. The main city of Gujarat, Ahmedabad city, is known as the ‘Manchester of the East’ and ‘Denim City.’ Gujarat’s six percent of total Industrial Production comes from textile industry. The Special Economic Zone in Gujarat has 1200 major large scale industries and is still growing. Over a hundred Industrial Clusters are identified with different types of industrial activities and are being developed at various locations. Gujarat ranks second nationwide in gas-based thermal electricity generation with national market share of over 8% and second nationwide in nuclear electricity generation with national market share of over 1%.
Vibrant Gujarat Summit started in 2003, it was aimed at bringing together the business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion makers; the summit is advertised as a platform to understand and explore business opportunities in the State of Gujarat. It took place 7 times so far every alternative year. It widely participated in the development of industries in the state. Indeed, in 2003, 76 Memorendum Of Understanding worth US $14 billion were signed. In 2005, 226 MOUs were signed for setting up projects worth INR 870 Billion, in 2007, 343 MOUs worth Rs 461835 crores were signed. In 2009, more than 8668 MOUS were signed. In 2011, 7935 MOUs were signed and reached 18,000 in the last summit that took place in 2013. Thanks to these summits, a high number of industries came from abroad or other states. Industrial clusters developed and Gujarat became a global business hub. The coastal area has dramatically changed as power plants and other industries get constructed.
But the outcome of this fast industrialization is not only a positive one. Gujarat accounts for 29% of the 6.2 million tons of hazardous waste while it is 25% in Maharashtra. In 2010, The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) even declared Gujarat as the most polluted State in the country. The conclusion has been based on the increasing levels of pollution and toxic wastes. Three of the most polluted rivers in India flow through Gujarat.Officials blame this on the failure of the local administration to regulate the flow of untreated sewage into the river, and also the activities of polluting industries in the city.
- Consequences on the people
In the Daman Ganga area, 8,700 people were displaced for industrial projects, among them 48.7% were from tribes. In Sadar Sarova, 2, 00,000 people were displaced, 57.6% were from tribes.
Land is being taken away from farmers without their consent. For instance, The Dholera Special Investment Region was announced by the state government in 2009. Spread over 920 square kilometer area, the project aimed to create a global manufacturing and trading hub in the state. Despite protest by the farmers, the state government carried out surveys and land acquisition in the area. Farmers claimed the land being offered was not even cultivable and the plot given in exchange was half the size of their previous ones.
Another example is the one of farmers in the area around Suva village in Dahej PCPIR in South Gujarat are restive. Their land has been taken away and handed over to top industrial groups, and they have received poor compensation. Worse, the entire area is facing environmental destruction and loss of livelihood.
This proves that those who are the most concerned by the development of the industries are villagers, farmers, fishermen and tribes people. In return for their displacement, they often get very low compensation and if there is no displacement, they face pollution that can put them in danger or threatens their livelihood in the case of farmers and fishermen.
Beside the impact on human lives, we must also consider the damages on the local fauna and flora. In the SEZ in Mundra, the Adani Group has destroyed thousands of mangroves and industrial activities have changed the mouth of the creeks. Grazing land is used to build the projects regardless of the fact that farmers need them to feed their cows and other animals.