A Bill aimed at establishing a development and tourism authority for the area around the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Gujarat's Narmada district was passed in the state Assembly on Wednesday, the last day of the session, even as opposition Congress staged a walkout.
Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani, walked out of the House alleging that the BJP government in the state was trying to snatch the rights of the local tribals by establishing such authority through the bill- The Statue of Unity Area Development And Tourism Governance Bill.
The bill was eventually passed in the absence of the Congress members.
Immediately after the bill was passed by the ruling BJP, Congress members returned to the House to take part in the discussion on the 'last-day resolution'.
This was the second walkout by the Congress members in the day.
During the Question Hour earlier, the Congress MLAs staged a walkout of around one minute alleging non-payment of crop insurance to the farmers hit by recent unseasonal rain.
The bill on the Statue of Unity, tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, provides for the "development of the area and management of tourism in and around the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya by providing the necessary infrastructure through effective planning and administration".
The Statue of Unity is a statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of the country. With a height of 182 meters, it is the world's tallest statue, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2018.
"With an 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 an authority.
The authority will implement provisions of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976, and control and regulate development, with district police authorized to assist it, the bill said.
The land acquired for the development of the region will be deemed as land needed for a public purpose and will come under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, it said.