The farmers of Navalgarh Tehsil of Jhunjhunu District of Rajasthan have been continuously sitting on a dharna, for the last four years, under the leadership of Kishan Sangharsh Samiti. They are demanding that their fertile land which provides them livelihood, must not be acquired for use by cement companies. On the fourth anniversary of their protest on 27th August 2014, they organised a grand program in the Tehsil.
Thousands of acres of 20 villages under six panchayats in the Navalgarh Tehsil are to be acquired for Ultratech Cement Ltd of Aditya Birla group, Shri Cement Company of Bangur group and N. Srinivasan’s company, India Cement Ltd.
Deep Singh Shekhavat of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti said that their land is fertile and yields three crops in a year. We are fighting the land acquisition legally using the laws that have been made by the government. However, the Central Government, the State Government and the Rajasthan Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) are bent on converting this area into a wasteland by violating all the laws. There are huge underground deposits of limestone in this area.
With the ongoing opposition by the farmers, Srinivasan had to cancel its plan for India Cement Ltd. The other two companies are still persisting in acquiring land. These companies are trying to break the resistance of the farmers with the help of government officials. They are trying to lure farmers by offering high prices to get the land deeds.
Ultratech Cement Ltd of Aditya Birla group has obtained the land deeds of 2600 bighas of land. Sri Cement has managed to buy1200 bighas of land. The Khejri trees in the land already bought by the companies are being mercilessly cut so that the land could be shown to be desert.
The cutting of trees will bring the ground water level down from its already low level. Once factories start, the remaining water will also get exhausted. Then this area will really turn into a desert.
Kisan Sangharsh Samiti is continuing to fight this illegal acquisition from all sides. They have petitioned all the way from the Tehsildar to the President against the land acquisition. However, no action has been taken by the officials so far. Note that the cement factories will require lakhs of liters of water.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar supports the just struggle of Navalgarh farmers. We demand that government immediately withdraws the notification issued for land acquisition so that the livelihood and homes of farmers remain safe.