The Gujarat government has given its green signal to Nirma Ltd's controversial cement plant in Mahuva.
The company has been aiming to foray into cement production by setting up a 2.4 million tonnes cement plant in Bhavnagar district for an estimated investment of Rs 1000 crore (Rs 10 billion), according to industry sources privy to the development.
Vajubhai Vala, finance minister and Saurabh Patel, minister of state for power and industry, government of Gujarat announced the development at Bhavnagar.
"Around 54 hectares of land would be excluded from the proposed plant's total land allotment," the ministers said.
The decision to give a go ahead to the cement plant was taken after the recommendation of a sub-committee, which was constituted to find out an amicable solution for setting up the plant.
Nirma has been aiming to set up the cement project for the last five to six years now.
Residents of about dozen villages in the Bhavnagar region had opposed the cement plant over the land acquisition issue.
Under the leadership of Kanubhai Kalsaria, a BJP MLA from Mahua, the villagers had agitated against the allotment of over 4,000 hectares of land to Nirma Group for the cement project.
The land provisioned for the project included wasteland and grazing land in villages such Dudheri, Gajarda, Delia and Amlia. These villages are located on the coastal belt of Mahuva.
The state government authorities had granted the land to the company saying that the area is saline and land is not fertile enough for cultivation. However, the villagers and farmers were optimistic about the fertility of the land as two dams were coming up in that region providing necessary irrigation water to them.
The Gujarat government appointed a high-power committee to look into Nirma Cement Project controversy in May. The five member committee was headed by SK Shelat, advisor to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.