Surat tribals block highway on 'World Tribals Day'

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Surat, Aug 9 (UNI) As many as ten thousand tribals from the district blocked the highway on ''World Tribals Day'' today in Khedpur cross roads preventing the vehicles from crossing the road resulting in disruption of road traffic for hours in this sector, to press for their demands.

Top government officials and police force rushed to the spot but were unable to convince the protestors. Due to blockade, traffic got jammed and the long queus of vehicles were seen over seven kms increasing hardships to the road users.

The authorities continued their discussion with the tribal leaders and sought time till August 29 to sort out their demands.

Later, the leaders accepted the request from the government and wind-up their agitation. However, the leaders warned the authorities that if the government did not initiate to solve their problems within the given time, they will be forced to go for more harsh protests.

The tribals of 59 villages demanded the completion of ''Jamna-Khanta'' (Right Canal) of Ukai irrigation project.

Tribals complain that the state government in 1997 approved 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,'' they alleged.


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