Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced Chhotaudepur as a new and the twenty-eighth district of the state. It will start working from January 26, 2012.
Addressing an Adivasi Mahasammelan attended by tribal people from a dozen predominantly tribal districts of the state extending from Ambaji (Sabarkantha) to Umargam at Chhotaudepur, he said that a high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been formed to decide which talukas and which villages would be included in the new district. Gir-Somnath was declared as the twenty-seventh district of the state last month. It is part of the state government’s initiative for decentralization to make administration easy and fast for the people.
Mr. Modi also announced implementation of two major ambitious irrigation projects costly Rs.4,000-crore for the benefit of people living in ravines in the remote hilly region, in the mercy of vagaries of monsoon. The projects aimed at taking water from the rivers to the fields with the help of technology.
One project costing Rs.500-crore involves constructing 1,064 check dams, 1,200 community wells, 87 lift irrigation schemes and 120 ponds to irrigate over 13,000 ha of land. The other project costing Rs.3,500-crore is to divert surplus flood waters flowing down the Narmada to the tribal areas through 663-km of pipelines to irrigate 75,000 ha of land.
The Chief Minister distributed forest land title papers to tribal people and said that Gujarat has distributed maximum number of forest land papers to the tribal in the country. He said that Rs.40,000-crore Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojna will be implemented for all round development of tribal.
Distributing government assistance and gadgets to the beneficiaries during the Garib Kalyan Mela, he said that the tribal, poor, dalits and have-nots of Gujarat have by now recognized who are exploiting them and have thus joined the present government. Having failed to woo the poor, he said, they are now targeting the middle class as the vote bank, which is unlikely to happen.
He said the government has allotted houses to all the16-lakh eligible people living Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the 0-16 Point bracket in the state, while the remaining 6-lakh BPL people in the 17-20 Point bracket are being distributed the first installment of Rs.21,000 for plot and building materials.
Mr. Modi said the government has provided drinking water facilities in 5,900 villages and 11,900 hamlets in the tribal areas as the percentage of water taps to tribal householders has gone up from 4% to 76% over the last ten years. Electrification of 1.50-lakh huts has been completed, 3,000 ponds have been deepened and 13,000 check dams built. Nearly Rs.1,225-crore have been spent on projects to irrigate 8.75-lakh ha in tribal areas.
He expressed happiness at the delayed but noteworthy rainfall in the state this monsoon, saving the state from severe spectre of drought.
Speaking on the occasion, Tribal Development and Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel expressed happiness at unprecedented development of tribal people under the leadership of the Chief Minister, who has also hosted the sacrifices of tribal freedom fighters at Pal Chitaliya, Mangarh and Jambughoda in India’s map for Independence struggle. The earlier government indulged in corruption in even distribution of hens and ducks.
Minister of State for Law and in-charge District Pradipsinhji Jadeja said the government took help of satellite technology to map forest density and accordingly distributed 9.365 acre forest land titles to the tribal. Members of Parliament Ramsinh Rathwa and legislators Gulsinhji and Abhesinh Tadvi also spoke on the occasion.
Others present on the occasion included Parliamentary Secretary Yogesh Patel, District Panchayat President Sudhaben Parmar, heads of religious groups, office-bearers, senior and prominent citizens of the town and district.