Land grab in the name of tourism development has left hundreds of tribals displaced in Gujarat’s dang.
Saputara is a hill station in Dang which is home to several tribal communities – such as Kunbi, Warli, Bhil and Kokni. Together the tribals form 92% of Dang’s population. Roshan, the correspondent of this video is also a Dangi tribal who says, most of the people in his community are dependent on agriculture now victims of land grab.
About 3 decades ago, Gujarat govt started developing Saputara as a tourist destination. Since then over 50 small and big hotels, log huts and cottages have come up there. The govt promoted Gujarat Tourism Corporation has also constructed a multistoried luxury hotel in Saputara. The entire land on which the hotels are built has been grabbed from local tribals who have been shifted to a place far away from Saputara.
The displaced tribals have not been paid either the price of the land, nor have they been given alternative land to cultivate even after thirty years. But as the govt clears more hotel projects, the tribals face yet another round of displacement, this time further away from Saputara.
As a tribal youth Roshan feels extremely angry and bitter about the development in Dang which he feels reflects govt’s anti-tribal policy. This is because the development plan has been drawn without keeping in mind the livelihood needs of local tribals who are so dependent on their land. So, although lots of revenue is coming to Dang through tourism, tribals are still denied the compensation.
Roshan decided to shoot this video when he saw that displacement of tribals in Saputara sparked fear in his own village. People fear that tomorrow they may have to give up land to a tourism project. To stop the spread of such fear and to stop further displacement of tribals, the mushrooming of hotels and grabbing of tribal land must stop immediately, Roshan demands.