The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), the nodal agency, has acquired 1,000 hectares from these farmers in Khoraj village, and another 600 hectares in neighbouring Makhia for Rs 660 crore. Clearly, this sudden wealth acquired by these farmers lured automobile companies and others to woo them. But the farmers decided not to follow their Sanand counterparts and to multiply their wealth…
Drawing a lesson from what the farmers in neighbouring Sanand did with the money they earned by selling land after Tata Motor’s arrival in 2008, agriculturists of Khoraj have turned a new leaf; they will buy new land in the vicinity, invest in financial markets and diversify into other businesses. Nearly 400 farmers from Khoraj have been paid Rs 1,760 crore by the GujaratGovernment in the last two months, making them crorepatis overnight.
The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), the nodal agency, has acquired 1,000 hectares from these farmers in Khoraj village, and another 600 hectares in neighbouring Makhia for Rs 660 crore. Clearly, this sudden wealth acquired by these farmers lured automobile companies and others to woo them. But the farmers decided not to follow their Sanand counterparts and to multiply their wealth.
As per the Government formula, the compensation was worked out at Rs 1,100 per square meter (or Rs 1.1 crore per acre), which made these farmers overnight crorepati. However, rather than buying pricey cars and spending on luxury goods, farmers from Khoraj — about 50 km from Ahmedabad — have decided to put their capital to a fruitful use. “In this village, people value their money. We have already seen how farmers in Sanand spent most of their money on costly cars and lavish lifestyle. In Khoraj, farmers have rather started diversifying into other businesses like transport and agri-services,” said Haribhai Jadav, talati (tehsildar) of Khoraj village.
Some farmers have bought tractors and tempos to venture into water delivery business and goods ferry services. Interestingly, in mid-2010, when in a similar land acquisition near Sanand, farmers got crores as compensation and they thronged the showrooms of costly luxury cars like Audi (car with four rings — as it was identified by farmers) and SUVs.
History Of Khoraj
With a population of barely 6000, Khoraj village shares its history with the erstwhile Baroda State of the Gaekwad Dynasty. The village was the part of the Kadi Prant of the Baroda State in 1909. Curiously, that small village of the royal era has now become a gold mine in itself. “Most of the farmers are already well set. They need not show-off their wealth. Rather, they are looking for options to employ these funds for a productive use. Many prefer purchasing additional land, investing in financial markets or starting some small businesses,” said Ruturaj Sinh, a resident of Khoraj who sold about 30 bigha (a bigha = 2306.68 sq.m.) land to GIDC.
According to sources, the money received as compensation will be put in bank as fixed deposits and will be used as and when required either for expansion of farming activity, starting a new business or creating other property. The main economic activity of the villagers is farming and labour. Farmers cultivated wheat, paddy, cotton and jowar (barley).
However, some of the farmers expressed disappointment over the lesser rate given for their land compared to what was offered in 2010 to Sanand farmers. “Farmers are disappointed but we have decided not to create any hurdle by creating protests. We have accepted the lesser rate just to avoid any conflict with the Government at a time when the Chief Minister himself is heading towards the prime Ministerial post,” Jadav said. Notably, the recent deals at Khoraj are almost double the price of what was paid to the farmers in 2011-12 for an industrial park at Hansalpur near Becharaji in Mehsana. According to sources, an auto major had paid the farmers nearly Rs 25-26 lakh per acre (or around Rs 640 per square meter).
Commenting on the difference in the rate of land, a top State Government functionary said: “There is a set mechanism to decide the rate of land. There can’t be uniform rate for the entire state. The present rate at Khoraj has been accepted by farmers and the entire land acquisition was done in a peaceful manner with consent of farmers.”
– The Hindu Businessline