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HomeIndiaAmid protest by tribals, Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project scrapped: Guj BJP chief

Amid protest by tribals, Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project scrapped: Guj BJP chief

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Ahmedabad, Mar 29 (PTI) The Centre has decided not to give a go-ahead to the Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project, following strong protests against it by tribals, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil said on Tuesday.

However, the opposition Congress in Gujarat dubbed the decision as a “lollipop” for tribals, and said the protest will continue until the government issues a white paper on scrapping of the project.

Talking to reporters, Paatil said he along with Gujarat ministers from tribal community, as well as MLAs and MPs from the state met Union ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in New Delhi on Monday, and appealed to them not to go ahead with the project.

“They have assured us that until Maharashtra and Gujarat — the two states involved in the project — give their written consent for the project, it cannot be given a go-ahead,” the BJP leader said.

Notably, tribals have mobilised against the project and have taken out massive rallies. They have demanded scrapping of the project, saying this will adversely affect them and by displacing them from their ancestral land.

Paatil said, “The opposition parties tried to instigate tribals for their own benefit. They blamed it on the BJP while forgetting that the (Par-Tapi-Narmada river link) project was launched when Manmohan Singh was the prime minister.” He said the Gujarat government in its recent state budget had not shown any willingness for the project.

Due to this, the project cannot move ahead, the central ministers were of the view during the meeting on Monday, he said.

“The BJP will never do anything that will lead to tribals losing their land and affect their interest,” Paatil said.

Gujarat Tribal Development Minister Naresh Patel said the BJP is committed to ensure no tribal is displaced.

“If the project results in displacement of tribals, then the BJP will not agree to it. Therefore, it is scrapped,” he told reporters.

“The Congress and other organisations created an atmosphere of fear among tribals by talking about their displacement…we all know that no central project will succeed until the state agrees to it,”.

Therefore, the Centre has made it clear that it will support Gujarat over its decisions taken in the interest of the tribal community.

“The Centre has said that the project, which was proposed in the Union Budget, is postponed,” Patel said.

However, Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly Sukhram Rathwa claimed the BJP has taken the decision in view of the state elections due in December this year and out of its own interest rather than that of the tribal communities, and demanded a whitepaper on the issue.

“It is no more than a lollipop. We will continue to protest against the project until the government comes out with a white paper. The claims (about scrapping of the project) are meant to mislead the tribals and take political mileage ahead of the election,” the Congress leader said.

As per the Centre’s India Water Resources Information System portal, the river link project proposes to transfer water from surplus regions of the Western Ghats to the water deficit regions of Saurashtra and Kutch. It involves seven reservoirs proposed in north Maharashtra and south Gujarat.

Apart from seven dams, the project envisages three diversion weirs, two tunnels, a 395 km long canal, six power houses and a number of cross-drainage works.

Besides providing irrigation benefits, the project will also generate hydro-power. The reservoirs will also provide relief from floods to people residing in downstream areas. PTI KA PJT PD GK GK GK

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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