On October 31, India witnessed a historical moment as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 'Statue of Unity'.The statue is of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhai Patel in the Narmada district of Gujarat.
The statue was built with a whopping Rs 3,000 crore of taxpayers' money. It is the tallest statue in the world as of now, at 182 metres. The statue's construction has affected 75,000 tribals across 72 villages in Gujarat's Narmada district, reports said.
Resentment has also been building among more than 1,500 farmers in four districts – Chhota Udepur, Panchmahals, Vadodara and Narmada, who had sold 262,000 tonnes of sugarcane to the Sardar Sugar Mill in Sankheda, which was shut down due to financial mismanagement by board members. They are still waiting for their dues amounting to Rs 12 crore, reported The Wire.
In 19 villages, rehabilitation has allegedly not been complete while compensation has been paid but further commitments like land and jobs have not been fulfilled in 13 villages.
Another event that caught the public eye on the same day was Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's inauguration of a housing colony in Thiruvananthapuram, for the brave fishermen who lost their houses due to the cyclone 'Ockhi' in 2017. These fishermen played a major role in rescuing lakhs of lives during the worst floods that had affected in Kerala, in August 2018.
The apartment complex named "Prathiksha" was built in the suburb of Muttathara, Valiathura in the state capital. The project was completed by the state government in a record time of 18 months with an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore. The keys were handed over to 192 fishing families of these areas by CM Vijayan on Wednesday.
The project for the rehabilitation of the fishermen was started in 2017, with an estimate of Rs 10 lakh per house and was finished despite all odds faced by the state including the cyclone and the worst floods that Kerala had witnessed. The housing initiative was a project taken up under Pinarayi Vijayan government's 'LIFE Project', a progressive and affordable housing scheme aimed at providing a roof to every Keralite.
The fishermen community of Kerala was celebrated across India for their heroic devotion to saving lives during the Kerala floods, but they were living in hazardous conditions due to extreme weather patterns, multiple sea attacks and sea erosion that had destroyed about 6,000 houses, as per the government.
"At Rs 6.5 lakh tons, Kerala's fish landings tops in the country and contributes significantly to our foreign reserves. But the living conditions of the fishermen community remains appalling. Their lives are suffered by lack of basic conditions and natural calamities. Apart from these are the technicalities of the Coastal Zone Regulation Act. Fishermen community are as backward as tribals. The benefits of Kerala's societal progress has not reached them yet," Vijayan said in a Facebook post earlier.
As per the UN report, Kerala needs Rs 31,000 crore for its rehabilitation process after the destruction caused by the floods, which left nearly 500 dead and massive destruction of property. The refurbished houses tell the story of the state's makeover.