Villagers came out in large numbers to oppose the move by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) to put up the fence around the land covering six villages near the Statue of Unity. The villagers said that it threatens to displace around 5,000 tribals currently living in the area.
The Statue of Unity is a statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of the country. With a height of 182 metres, it is the world''s tallest statue.
The SSNNL authorities approached the village with a team of local police to carry on the work when they faced opposition from the villagers, police said.
"The work of construct a fence around the land covering six villages has been going on since the last few days. Today, it was to be done at Kevadiya village when the villagers protested and opposed the authorities in carrying out the task. We detained around 20 tribals, following which the work continued," Parag Chaudhary, inspector of Kevadiya police station, said.
The BJP-led state government started constructing the fence and acquiring the disputed land a few days back after getting permission from the Gujarat High Court, which had earlier stayed the process over a PIL challenging the government''s stake on the land.
The PIL filed by an NGO claimed the land was acquired by the SSNNL in 1960s for the Narmada dam project, but was never used, and hence the tribals continued to own it.
The government needed to acquire the land afresh under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, as original acquisition lapsed as it remained with the tribals for the last 58 years, the PIL said.
The affected villages around the Statue of Unity are Navagam, Waghariya, Limdi, Kothi, Gora and Kevadiya. PTI COR KA PD NP NP
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI