Over hundreds of tribals from six villages in Navsari district Friday staged a dharna outside the district development office, demanding toilets and proper houses for them in their villages. On Friday afternoon, tribals from villages like Bhatkui, Salej, Nasirpore, Pera, Kotha and Vanta gathered outside the DDO office building. Majority of them were women from Halpati, Rathod, Nayka tribes, with placards and banners in their hands, demanding pucca houses and toilets at their homes. After the day-long dharna, these women handed the memorandum to district Development officer K D Candanani. They demanded that the government should repair their houses or allot new houses to them and also build toilets for them. The agitation was led by advocate and social worker Pradeep Gadankush of Navsari.
Ramila Rathod, a resident of Bhatkui village in Navsari, said, “The government had allotted us houses many years ago. Today, the condition of these houses are pathetic as cracks are found on the roofs, walls and beams. It is dangerous to stay in these houses, but due to our poor economic condition we have no other option. My children work in the fields to eke out a living. The women at home have to go outside the village for toilets early in the morning or late in the night.”
Social worker and advocate Pradeep Gadankush said, “We have done a survey and found that among the six such villages, over 40 percent of villagers belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) stay in dilapidated houses and do not have toilets. We have handed the memorandum to District Development officer, requesting him to use the government funds to repair the houses or allot new houses to the STs of the six villages. We will continue our survey with our volunteers in the villages in Navsari and find out how many people stay at their homes in such poor condition.”