Tribals from 47 talukas in Gujarats eastern belt called upon Keshubhai Patel government to provide them water and food on Thursday. The Umbergaon and Dahod tribals had converged under the banner of Gujarat Purvapatti Vistar Khedut Vikas Mandal and the
They submitted 10 demands to Mr Patel through the Godhra collector. Their leader Madhusudhan Mistry asked them to meet in Gandhinagar in December-January if the government does not fulfil their demands. The state Congress president C.D. Patel, MP
Shankersinh Vaghela, former chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary and former MP Shantilal Patel were present on the occasion.
The government should construct a new branch from the main Narmada canal passing near Godhra to provide water to villages in the area. There are 14 small and big dams in these areas, and yet the tribals do not get enough water, Mr Mistry said. He
demanded that water be provided to 57 villages in the downstream of Panam dam.
Other demands included handing over possession of 1.24 lakh-acre forest land to 68,000 families, daily wages at rate of Rs 40 per day, for relief work, three-phase electricity connections and basic amenities in these areas.
The water problems in the country can be solved if the Centre dedicates one Five-Year-Plan for water work schemes, said Mr Vaghela. Coming down heavily on the state government, Mr Chaudhary questioned the state governments claim that deaths in Poshina
were not due to starvation, and added that the Congress will go to the court to seek justice and compensation.
He alleged that the government did not realise the seriousness of drought and relief measures were implemented late. He stressed on implementation of the Bhuria Committee recommendations.
Addressing the tribals, Mr Mistry said, It might take three years to get clearance from the state. Be mentally prepared for making sacrifices. Later, talking to The Asian Age, Panchmahals Congress president Ajitsinh Bhatti alleged that the fodder supply
did not meet the requirement of the villages. He claimed that in Vada village of Khanpur taluka in Panchamhals, villagers got 50-60 kg bale fodder against payment made for 114-kg bale.
The congregation presented a memorandum to the district collector to highlight problems faced by them in Panchmahals and Dahod along with suggestions for improvement.