There couldn’t have been a better musical piece for Tata Nano’s well-wishers to listen to than the one inked by a two judge bench of Gujarat High Court recently. A Bench comprising of the Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Akil Kureshi not only dismissed the two PILs filed against the Gujarat government’s land acquisition in Sanand for setting up a mother plant for Tata Motors’ benchmark development Nano, but also imposed a 10,000 Rs fine on the petitioners, mostly farmers hailing from the area around Tata Nano’s new home. The HC bench termed the motive of the petitioners “frivolous, speculative and vexatious” and charged them for abusing the judicial process. This seemed to follow a 2007 SC directive, which had asked its affiliate courts to show no mercy while dealing with suspect PILs.
Apart from a few Delhi based media houses and their local cohorts in Ahmedabad, almost nobody from Gujarat showed any sympathy for the the agitating farmers ever. This was mostly due to the timing farmers had chosen to air their grievance. They never had shown any public discontent before for an issue that goes back to the British Raj, when their forefathers had chosen to transfer part of their lands in exchange of a compensation to the government of the day. It was only after Tata’s Singur debacle and a decision to relocate Nano’s mother plant to Sanand, near Ahmedabad, that they started crying foul in public about the whole matter. An intention of milking away from an important accord between the Gujarat government and Tata Motors, and a tendency of misusing the sympathy, which normally gets accorded to the victims of industrial developments, could always be heard from their shrill cries.
This judicial pronouncement may or may not make it easier for other state governments to allot land for industrial usage, as the socio-economic index and therefore the ground realities in Gujarat and elsewhere stand vastly different. However, this would surely provide a further boost to Narendra Modi’s agenda of development, who has ensured during his stay as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in Gandhinagar, that his state leads India’s charge in the 21st century!
A happy Nano fan in Ahmedabad, wishing the One Lakh Car a successful journey ahead!
May 12, 2009 Update:
More fun! Gujarat HC dismisses yet another PIL against the Sanand land allotment, saying it was intended only for publicity and media attention.