Villages in Tapi Left off the Road to Development

The current election campaign in Gujarat has been hinged on issues surrounding infrastructure development.  On the eve of the election our Community Correspondent Renesh Gamit brings a telling video, which begs to ask if the development the Gujarat government talks of has really happened. “This Vibrant Gujarat they talk of only exists in cities. If they will come to the village they will understand what the reality is.” Says Renesh. Tapi District, the southernmost tip of Gujarat, two villages-- Amaldi and Ajwar remain completely cut off from basic infrastructure such as schools, roads and bridges. The district was carved out of Surat in 2007 in order to provide better governance in the area. But even at that time, there were reports that the majority of the tribal population felt that it would not benefit from this bifurcation. 5 years down the line, it seems that their worst nightmares have come true. There is only about 4KM of concrete road in the area, the other half of the 'road' is a stretch of rubble. Add to this the fact that the closest PHC is about 8 KM away. For those who need urgent medical attention, getting to the hospital often feels like a herculean task. Add to this mix of chaos, a river that has a tendency to flood during the monsoons. The already fragile roads are then completely submerged and there is no bridge here to help the residents. “During the monsoons, the children skip school because they cannot get to it, for the others in the village getting to the market to sell their produce or even get groceries is impossible,” laments Sumitaben, a resident of the village. The residents have thus far run from pillar to post to secure some infrastructure. Even when they succeed in getting something like electricity, the supply is fickle. All it takes is a broken tree to plunge the village into darkness for long spells. While the current Chief Minister showcases a 'Vibrant Gujarat' it is evident from videos like this that certain pockets of the state are yet to see basic amenities. “I don’t think it’s going to make a difference whether it’s a Congress or BJP government. This is a tribal area and they feel that the community cannot contribute in a way the urban areas do and so they will not put in money on infrastructure. We are not important for them,” says Renesh. Call to Action: The residents feel alienated by the lack of will authorities show to get them these. They urge you to call the District Development Officer on: 9978405263 and the Block Development Officer on 02624222025   Article by: Kayonaaz Kalyanwala

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