South Gujarat Tribals to protest on World Tribal Day tomorrow

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Surat, Aug 8 (UNI) Tribals of 59 villages in this district will hold a road blockade programme on, ''World Tribal Day'', tomorrow at the National Highway passing through Mandvi, demanding construction of ''Jamna-Khanta'' (Right Canal) of Ukai irrigation project.

Narayan Parmar, Advisor of Ukai Jamna-Kantha Adivasi Adhikar Samithi said adivasis of 59 villages of Mandvi and Songadh taluka have been deprived of water due to slackness of the State Government for the last ten years.

''A road blockade programme is being conducted on August 9 as it is the World Tribal Day, and we wanted to raise the issue on the same day,'' Mr Parmar said. He said the demand has been pending for a long time and the state government did nothing during the last ten years regarding the issue.

Tribals complain that the state government in 1997 approved the the said project at a cost of Rs 44.33 crore. However, due to change in power in the state, the proposed project got delayed, which had adverse effect on the economic development of the region. Currently, due to absence of proper irrigation facility, farmers have to depend on monsoon for farming or else have to migrate to other places in search of livelihood.

Around 9,780 hectare land of 59 villages is totally useless for want of water in the region. ''Dabha-Kantha'' (Left side Canal) has been completed but no action is been initiated to complete the other project. ''The project is being opposed by the Forest Department, which claims that 52 hectare ecology will be destroyed and based on this, the state government is lingering on the project,'' Mr Parmar added.

UNI XR/PVN SR SK BD1815

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