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After Ninder, farmers in a village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu ‘bury’ themselves to protest against a waste treatment plant

Nearly a month after farmers in Jaipur’s Ninder village buried themselves neck-deep in pits to protest acquisition of land for a housing project, farmers in Jhunjhunu’s Derwala village, have followed suit

jaipur Updated: Dec 04, 2017 21:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,neck-deep in pits,Derwala village
Villagers in Rajasthan’s Jhunjunu sit in 2ft deep pits for three hours on Monday as ‘token protest’ against the local municipal council’s plan to set up a waste treatment plant near the village. (HT Photo.)

Nearly a month after farmers in Jaipur’s Ninder village buried themselves neck-deep in pits to protest acquisition of land for a housing project, farmers in Jhunjhunu’s Derwala village, have followed suit.

The district administration, however, has termed the protest as “misplaced and politically motivated”.

Fifty-one people from Derwala village, about 170km from the state capital, sat in 2ft deep pits for three hours on Sunday as a “token protest” against the municipal council’s plan of setting up a biomedical and solid waste treatment plant in the village.

“It’s a religious spot. We have temples of Gogamedi and Balaji. Every year a religious fair is also organised here. Now waste from three districts–Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu–will come here. Is it fair?” asks Dinesh Sunda, president of Derwala Pahadi Sangharsh Samiti (DPSS), adding that there was a 200-year-old pond right next to the proposed site for the plant.

The three-hour protest was a “saanketik Samadhi” (token burial) and villagers, threatened bury themselves “permanently” if the government does not withdraw its orders.

“We’ll go to any extent to oppose the orders,” said Mahesh Kumar, a member of DPSS.

“We’ll die but won’t let the plant be set up here. People of thirty nearby villages are with us in the protest,” he said.

More than 12 hectare of land was allocated by the district administration to the municipal council in April this year and the village panchayat objected, Kumar said.

The protesting farmers also carried out a mock death procession of the municipal council last week and are observing a 12-day ‘shok sabha’ (mourning).

On December 8, the day on which the ruling BJP won the elections in the state four years back, villagers will carry out a “narayan bali” of the civic body and observe black day, Sunda said.

Municipal council chairperson Sudhesh Ahlawat, however, said the land belonged to the government and was not even acquired from the farmers.

“Some people are stoking the protest for political reasons,” he said.

“The plant is situated 2 km from the village and will be a fully covered one, built with the latest technology at a cost of ₹20 crore,” Ahlawat said, adding that villagers will get manure and electricity from the plant.

District collector Dinesh Kumar Yadav said the Supreme Court has issued directions for constructing waste treatment plants.

“Where will the waste then go? It’s in the greater interest (of villagers) but they are adamant,” he said.

“We are also willing to take them to a similar plant and dispel their apprehensions that it produces any kind of stench.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 21:02 IST