Modi Hometown Residents Move Court Against Land Acquisition

India: Residents of Vadnagar in Gujarat’s Mehsana district have challenged in the high court the state government’s move to acquire their land for a buffer zone for preservation of some of the architectural structures found in the town where a massive excavation project is being carried out.

Eleven families from Vadnagar, the hometown of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have sought the Gujarat high court’s direction to cancel the government’s notification allowing acquisition of land without carrying out a social impact assessment (SEA) study for the buffer zone to be created for maintenance of architectural structures.

The residents filed a plea against the notification last week and the matter was taken up by a division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri on Monday. The bench later adjourned the hearing to March 11.

The counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the archaeological department is looking to acquire land parcels with around 30 houses built on them to create a buffer zone for preservation of architectural structures discovered in the town by classifying it as a “special project”.

This is being done without the SEA study as the government considers it a special project. Section 10 (a) of the state’s amendment to the Land Acquisition Act allows the government to acquire land for such a special project without the need for an SEA, according to the plea.