Tribal communities and tribal organizations took to the streets in Dharampur in Valsad district on Monday in protest of the government’s proposed Par Tapi Narmada river link project. The huge rally was organized by Vansada Congress MLA and tribal leader Anant Patel, which started from Asur Chowk and went up to the office of Mamlatdar.
Over 5,000 political and tribal leaders from across South Gujarat, including the Valsad district, participated in the rally and registered their protest by handing over a memorandum to the Mamlatdar. Prior to the rally, the gathering was addressed by MLA Anant Patel and Shiv Sena state president Abhinav Delkar, son of former Dadra Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar.
The protestors during the rally intimidated the government regarding the adverse outcomes if the project will be implemented even after the representations by the tribal community. “There was a lack of coordination between the central government and state government ministers. On one hand, the central government is talking about the river link project in the budget and on the other hand, the ministers of the Gujarat government are publicly claiming that this project will not be implemented,” said MLA Anant Patel.
The rally was a part of the current ongoing campaign against the Narmada river link project, which was fuelled after budgetary allocations for it were announced by the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech last month.
According to the India Water Resources Information System, the Par Tapi Narmada river link project is proposed to transfer water from surplus areas of Western Ghats to the deficit areas of Saurashtra and Kutch. It also includes works such as constructing reservoirs in North Maharashtra and South Gujarat.
Nearly around 50,000 people will be affected directly due to the construction of new reservoirs and it will result in minimum 35 villages getting submerged in the catchment areas of coming-up new dams.