- Kevadia villagers had approached Narmada district panchayat member Dinesh Tadvi with concerns over fencing of land around Statue of Unity
Vishal Mistry, Rajpipla: Clashes between villagers in Kevadia and the Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Authority (SOUADTGA) have increased following the latter’s decision of fencing the land in the area. Recently, fresh clashes erupted between women from Kevadia village and the KDA authorities when they started work on land survey. Now, a BJP leader has written to government authorities seeking solutions to the villagers’ problems
In his letter to the SOUADTGA, Dinesh Tadvi, chairman of Narmada district panchayat social justice committee, has raised questions related to the villagers’ grievances.
According to reports, the villagers have objected to the fencing surrounding land plots in Kevadia around the Statue of Unity, These villagers have been claiming ownership of the land whose possession, they say, had been taken over by the government for construction of Narmada dam. However, the site of the dam was later shifted. Since then, they have been demanding the ownership back. They claim they have not taken any financial package in lieu of the land. Before joining the BJP last year, Tadvi had actively represented the villagers’ issues and their concerns over being evicted from what they claimed was their own land. Recently, they approached him for help when the land survey work began.
Tadvi has now sought response from the authorities regarding this complaint.
“The land of six villages including Kevadia had been acquired for the Narmada Yojana. However, these six villages have not been declared ‘affected. After the site of Narmada dam was shifted from Navagam, the respective owners resumed agricultural activities for their livelihood. How can the authorities carry out survey work without issuing notices to the farmers, that too in times of a pandemic? With the land of those who have not taken the financial package being taken over, there is fear among the locals,” said Tadvi.
Tadvi asked the authorities to furnish proofs of villagers having accepted the financial package as well as of having issued notices to owners before taking possession of their lands and laying the fence. He also demanded proof of allotment of alternate land at the time of shifting villagers after acquiring their lands, if such a thing had happened in the past, with details of the year and the place where the alternate plots had been provided.
Last year, the fencing work around the Statue of Unity was suspended by authorities for talks following protests by the locals who claimed it was an attempt to grab their land for tourism-related projects.
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