In a strong response to former Gujarat Chief Minister Suresh Mehta alleging discrepancies in the land acquisition process around the Statue of Unity (SoU) site, Forest Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava, on Tuesday, contended that the welfare of the tribal population has always been the state government’s priority and every decision has been taken after due consultation with them.
Addressing the media in Surat, Vasava listed how the SoU and the subsequent development projects around the area have provided jobs to the tribal youth. In 11 months, with a footfall of over 26 lakh national and international tourists, over a 100 youths have been working as guides at the SoU premises, with 70 more guides roped in jungle safaris, he said. “Multiple welfare projects including pucca houses, water treatment plants, concrete roads have been undertaken to develop the villages around SoU,” he said.
Calling the former CM a ‘sidelined politician’, Vasava said, “These politicians who have been sidelined and pushed to the margins, are trying to stay relevant by talking about the displaced tribals and using them for their political gains. People who have no association with the tribals in Kevadia have been misguiding them. Many people for their own political gains have also been brainwashing the innocent tribal population around SoU.”