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Jatropha plantation project in Patan district, Gujarat, India


The vegetable oil extracted from jatropha seeds is commonly said to have the potential alternative of inorganic diesel. Bio-Diesel extracted from plants like Jatropha and Pongamia seems to be superior over crude derived diesel and its production has increased for it has already been found suitable for small medium and heavy vehicles, railways and so on. However, some researchers have pointed out that "Jatropha yields are much lower than expected and its cultivation is currently unviable, and even its potential viability is strongly determined by water access. On the whole, the crop impoverishes farmers, particularly the poorer and socially backward farmers. Jatropha cultivation therefore not only fails to alleviate poverty, but its aggressive and misguided promotion will generate conflict between the state and the farmers, between different socio-economic classes and even within households." [5] In Patan district, in the state of Gujarat, about 600 acres of ‘gauchar land’ (Grazing Land for domestic animals) at Anwarpura village were initially identified by the Gujarat State Land Development Corporation (GSLDC) for jojoba plant cultivation. Oil extracted from these plants is used in production of aviation fuel. Looking at its commercial promised benefit, the village panchyat had agreed to hand over the land to GSLDC. However, this plan did not materialize and GSLDC transferred the land to Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GSFC) for Jatropha cultivation in 2008.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Jatropha plantation project in Patan district, Gujarat, India
State or province:Gujrat
Location of conflict:Village - Anwarpura; Taluka- Sami; District- Patan
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Jatropha
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GSFC), Vadodara, planned a project to develop a Model Farm for Jatropha in the Patan district of Gujarat. They have practiced cultivation with selected Jatropha clones with around 35% oil content. These verities of plants had also low free fatty acids contents and yields of about 8-10 T per Ha equivalent to 2.7 to 3.0 Ton Jatropha oil per Ha within 5-6 years of plantation [2].

Project area:242
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,-20,000
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Gujarat State Fertilisers & Chemicals Limited (GSFC) from India - Executor
Gujarat State Land Development Corporation (GSLDC) from India
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Gujarat Lok Samiti
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIntoxications after accidentally eating jatropha seeds [4]
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Under negotiation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of alternatives:Gujarat Lok Samiti were spearheading the protest. According to them the project might benefit both the company and the villagers particularly the landless farmers only if the project were executed in cooperation with both parties. The marginal farmers will get sustainable means of livelihood and the company will get the products form Jatropha. However, the company was not agreed with the proposal [1, 3].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Gujarat Lok Samiti's proposal was not accepted.
Gujarat Lok Samiti wrote letters to the Chief Minister, Revenue Minister and Principal Secretary (Revenue) regarding their demands. However, they did not get any response from the government side [1, 3]
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

National Policy on Biofuels
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[5] Pere Ariza-Montobbio, "Jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India: Viability, livelihood trade-offs, and latent conflict"
[click to view]

Pere Ariza-Montobbio, "The political ecology of Jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India", The Journal of Peasant Studies

Volume 37, Issue 4, 2010

Special Issue: Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change
[click to view]

George Francis, Raphael Edinger and Klaus Becker, "A concept for simultaneous wasteland reclamation, fuel production, and socio-economic development in degraded areas in India: Need, potential and perspectives of Jatropha plantations"
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] GSFC’s Jatropha plant project comes to a standstill as villagers protest
[click to view]

[2] Bio-Fuels Jatropha Project at Patan
[click to view]

[3] Vaidya opposes Govt move to allot land for Jatropha farming
[click to view]

[4] Intoxication from jatropha seeds
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra, JNU Delhi
Last update25/08/2014
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