The Tribals in Gujarat do not seem to relent even after the assurances from the ruling party functionaries about dropping the Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project. The continued protests in the area indicate that the tribals are up in arms against the proposed project. The protests were also directed at Hindustan Zinc Company limited’s Doswada Zinc Smelter plant at Doswada in Songadh taluka.
A protest rally, organised by the protesting tribals saw a gathering of a significant number of tribals from Valsad, Navsari, Tapi and Dangs districts from Dusera tekri area to Songadh post office on 1st April.
Vansda MLA from Congress Anant Patel, while speaking at the rally insisted upon white paper assurance from the government regarding the dropping of the river linking project. Anant Patel said that tribals do not rely on the public statements made by BJP leaders about dropping the project. He said the river-linking project will displace a large number of tribals and would snatch away their livelihood.
Congress leader Yusuf Gamit was vocal against the Hindustan Zinc plant at Doswada and said that the project will lead to air, water, and land pollution. He said if needed tribals will go to Delhi to protest against the plant and the river-linking project.
Meanwhile, Gujarat State BJP president C R Patil had said during a meeting at Vyara in Tapi district that the chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra have not given their consent to the river-linking project. He added that in the meeting headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah with elected tribal leaders of Gujarat, attended also by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Gajendra Singh Shekhawa it is agreed to drop the project.
In another form of protest, the tribal women have posted over 11,111 postcards addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding to drop the river-linking project.