Don’t invoke land-grabbing act against those doing illegal shrimp farming, says BJP MLA Mukesh Patel

Don’t invoke land-grabbing act against those doing illegal shrimp farming, says BJP MLA Mukesh Patel

BJP MLA from Olpad constituency Mukesh Patel on Tuesday requested the Gujarat government not to invoke provisions of the recently enacted stringent Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act against women who lost their husbands and are doing illegal shrimp farming in the coastal areas of Gujarat.

The BJP MLA added that they have been forced to indulge in it as the authorities failed to allocate land.

Patel was speaking from the floor of Gujarat Assembly while participating in the general discussion on the state budget. Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act has stringent provisions with minimum imprisonment of 10 years and maximum 14 years.

“Gujarat has 1,600-km seashore and no other state in the country has such a long coastline. There is around 3.85 lakh hectare land in the coastal area of the state. Among that, around 1.55 lakh hectare is being used for farming of brackish water shrimps. Among that, only 10% land has been allocated for the farming of brackish water shrimp,” Patel said.

“If this land is allocated in larger amount, then a lot of people are likely to benefit… After 2010-11, there has not been any allocation of this land and because of that people have been forced to indulge in illegal shrimp farming,” he added.

Patel said that there are 17 villages from his constituency which are in the coastal region. He added that owing to lack of any other mean of livelihood, people of these villages were surviving on liquor brewing.

“Due to insufficient rain and lack of fodder, people have stopped keeping livestock… and liquor is being brewed immensely… After 2007-’08, people have slowly diverted to this (shrimp farming) and the level of liquor (brewing) has come to zero,” said Patel while adding that people were into illegal liquor brewing out of compulsion and lack of other livelihood alternatives.

Patel said that there are 1,760 widows and 423 shrimp ponds in the 17 villages falling under his Olpad constituency. He added that an RTI activist has portrayed the widows as “shrimp mafia”.

“Women have become widows and they are now being portrayed as shrimp mafia. Headlines are being made in newspapers that shrimp mafia have (illegally) occupied land,” Patel said.

“If they (people doing shrimp farming without permission) are locals, then have it regularised on humanitarian grounds. As many as 1,760 widows and 423 ponds and a case get registered against them. The home minister is here. Never register a case of land grabbing (against them). They are poor widows. Because of (Chief Minister) Vijaybhai Rupani, they are getting (monthly) Rs1,250 from Gujarat government (as widow compensation). Through you, I request the government to survey those people and do the needful to get them livelihood,” the Olpad MLA said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *