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Tribals, Muslims unhappy over newly-created Gujarat district
December 06, 2007 11:55 IST
Tribals and Muslims living in the newly-created district of Tapi are not happy with the Gujarat government for carving out a separate entity from Surat.
Christian tribals, who constitute a considerable chunk of the electorates of Vyara and Songadh constituencies of Tapi, feel the new setup will further alienate tribals in the region.
"We do not think that the creation of Tapi will benefit tribals of this district. After bifurcation of Surat, the administration of Tapi is left with no source of income as there are no industries in this region," says Christian tribal leader Thakorbhai Gamit of Karanjvel village.
"During the last five years of Bharatiya Janata Party rule, the conditions of roads in our area have improved. But villages still have irregular power supply, shortage of drinking water, no irrigation facilities and lack of medical care," Thakorbhai says.
A Congress candidate, Punabhai Gamit, a Christian tribal himself, contesting the assembly polls from Vyara constituency says, "The tribals are largely unhappy regarding the bifurcation of the Surat district".
"The tribals feel the new district will meet the same fate as the neighbouring Narmada district which has shown no signs of progress after being carved out of Bharuch," he argues.
Punabhai feels Muslims in the region too will vote for the Congress. Tapi, that was created on October 2 and includes the five talukas of Vyara, Songadh, Valod, Nizar and Ucchal, has its headquarters in Vyara.
"There are 36,000 Christian tribal voters in Vyara and 25,000 more in Songadh," Punabhai says.
Nasiruddin Kazi, a Muslim leader from Valod village says, "Though Valod was unaffected during the post-Godhra riots, Muslims living in Songadh, Mahuva and Vyara areas of Tapi district have been at the receiving end".
"Muslims in this region, including our village, never got government jobs after the 2002 communal riots. Now, after the creation of this new district, youths from the community will become more alienated," Kazi adds.
Another tribal villager, Daniel Gamit of Vaghpani village says, "When our region was part of Surat district, at least there were some development activities, but now the villagers are apprehensive about their future".
However, youngsters like Nimesh Desai of Bohari village feel the creation of a new district will help them. "Now we don't have to travel all the way to Surat. We can process all official documents by travelling to Vyara, which is only a few kilometres away," says Nimesh.
"The youth in our village feel they should vote for BJP as Modi is a good leader. One can easily approach the chief minister's office on any matter. This was not the case earlier," Nimesh says.
Another resident of Valod, Uday Desai feels people in the region should vote for the BJP as Narendra Modi [Images] has created new avenues in this tribal region by building roads and bridges.