Fisherfolk from the Mundra region of Gujarat’s Kutch region are protesting at the manner of industrial development on the coastal belt.
As a protest against the upcoming power projects of the Tata Group, the Adani group, and OPG Power, besides the Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ), around 3,000 villagers, including fishermen, salt pan workers and farmers from about 10 villages surrounding Mundra, held a 50 km rally from Bhadreshwar to the district headquarters in Bhuj.
Tata Group is developing an ultra mega power plant under its subsidiary, Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd, while Adani’s two ambitious projects, including a power plant and MPSEZ, have also come up on the coastal belt.
The protest march was motivated by the threat of destruction of the bhanderas or fish farms, where fisherfolk live during the nine-month fishing season. The protestors say OPG Power and the Adani group’s Kutch Power Generation Ltd have severely curtained their access to the sea, beside destroying their fish yield, as a consequence of outlet channels from the plant sites.
The protest has found support from Kanu Kalsaria, the ruling party MLA who spearheaded the protest against Nirma Ltd’s cement plant in Mahuva. “Yes, I have joined the agitations launched by the fishermen and we are trying our best to get them justice,” said Kalasaria.
Representatives of the fisherfolk and the local community gave a memorandum to the district collector, expressing their anger over the encroachment of mega industrial projects on their livelihood.
“We have received the memorandum against the industries on the coastal region. Since the matter requires state intervention, we will take up this matter with the state government in due course of time,” said M Thennarasan, the collector of Kutch.
The march had men, women and children bearing placards and shouting slogans on the adverse impact on their lives due to the projects in question.