Gandhinagar: A Bill seeking to establish a development and tourism authority for the area around the 182-metre tall Statue of Unity faced opposition from Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, who burnt its copy on Tuesday, claiming it will adversely affect tribals in the region.
The BJP government will table the Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Bill, 2019 on Wednesday, the last day of the ongoing Assembly session which started on Monday.
"On the pretext of Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel, which was constructed in Kevadiya against wishes of tribals living in the area, the government plans to snatch land and displace tribals from 70 more villages there against provisions of Schedule 5 of the Constitution," Mevani said.
"I call upon 40 MLAs from tribal and Dalit communities in the state Assembly to come together and oppose the Bill," he told media outside the Assembly complex, and set a copy of the bill on fire.
Mevani was expelled from the Assembly for the 3-day session on Monday for "indiscipline" and "disrespecting" the Chair after he, despite warning from the Speaker, told the treasury benches, "you all believe in Manusmriti (an ancient Hindu religious legal text), not the Constitution".
The Bill "provides for development of the area and management of tourism in and around the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya by providing necessary infrastructure through effective planning and administration".
"With ever increasing number of tourists from all over the country and abroad, the state government has felt an imminent need for developing the area," the government said while explaining the objective of forming a "Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Authority".
The authority will implement provisions of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976, and control and regulate development, with district police authorised to assist it, the govern said.
The land acquired for the developer of the region will be deemed as land needed for public purpose and will come under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, it said.
Since its inauguration on October 31, 2018, the Statue of Unity, the world's tallest such structure, has attracted 29.38 lakh tourists till November 16, 2019, the government said in reply to a starred question in the Assembly.