Statue of Unity

Kashmir Times. Dated: 11/3/2018 3:04:24 PM

Dear Editor
It is atrocious that Prime Minister Narendra Modi built the Rs 3,000-crore Statue of Unity – the tallest statue in the world – on freedom fighter Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary, at the cost of Adivasi rights as in the tourism zone, farmlands and Adivasi homes will be replaced by a “valley of flowers”, a “Tent City”, guest houses for every state, hotels, boating lake and a weir (a low dam across the river). Six villages near Garudeshwar have already lost land to the Weir, and after completing the Weir, land in seven more villages on both sides of the river will be submerged.
Moreover, six villages around Garudeshwar also lost acres of land in last month when the government widened the access road leading to the Statue of Unity. Though, villagers were given alternative plots of land, but in places that have still not been provided with basic water and other amenities as well as they are so far from their farms. When villagers protested the demolishing of homes, shops and water pipelines in these villages last week, they were lathi-charged by the police. One of the witness to the suffering Adivasi farmers was objecting that "The government is only concerned about tourism profit, but shouldn’t a tourism project involve participation of the local people?
Modi is doing this for himself, for his own immortality so that he can tell people that he built the biggest statue in the world. And he is doing it for the big companies". And "if this was Patidar land instead of Adivasi land, they would not have dared to do this". I condemn this cruelty upon Adivasis. Is this what Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel struggled in his entire life? Does it not contradict his vision and endeavours? PM Modi must answer.
—Q Qasmi,



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