Govt turns down kar sevaks appeal for basic amenities
GANDHINAGAR: The state government seems set for a headlong confrontation with the organisers of the kar seva called by Narmada Jan Andolan at the Sardar Sarovar dam site at Kevadia from December 4.
In a letter to kar seva co-convenor Vipin Patel, Narmada development minister Jainarayan Vyas has said it is not the government's job to provide volunteers with the facilities they were demanding. The Andolan co-convenor in a letter to Mr Vyas had asked that certain facilities be provided to the over two lakh volunteers expected to participate in the agitational programme. These include:
* Drinking water;
* Sanitation and pit latrines;
* Power connections in temporary tents;
* Additional ST transport from Vadodara to Rajpipla;
* Medical complement and;
* Land clearance for establishing a camp from Kevadia to the dam site.
In his reply to Mr Patel on November 29, the senior minister has made it clear since the kar seva has been called independently, it was the organisers' responsibility to make the necessary arrangements they were demanding from the government.
"It has been the practice for any mass movement that its organisers fulfil all the facilities for the participants themselves," Mr Vyas said.
The co-convenor's letter on November 24, said that facilities sought were necessary since 25,000 of the two lakh participants, would be women carrying about 10,000 children. The first batch, he said, would arrive at the dam site on December 3.
"We are confident that the state government will take necessary steps to ensure a smooth and healthy transition of the kar seva," Mr Vipin Patel said.
Meanwhile, Mr Vyas has directed Mr Patel to approach the Gujarat Road State Transport Corporation for additional buses, the Gujarat Electricity Board for a temporary power connection, and the health department for para-medics to ensure that the kar sevaks were not inconvenienced. All facilities would have to be paid for, secretariat sources said.
Mr Vyas said the Narmada district collector and district police could look into other problems, including those related with law and order, so that the kar sevaks could carry out their work smoothly. "Already, senior officers are in touch with Sharad Joshi for the facilities to be provided and have discussed the problems," Mr Vyas said in the letter. "Hence, you are requested to approach the senior officers locally," he added.