"The Centre is laying 10,000 km wide road network in the tribal-dominated northeastern states at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore. Efforts are also on to build a rail link across the seven states of the northeast region," Gadkari said at the inauguration of a three-day conference organised by RSS-affiliated Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.

Lauding the work of the Ashram, Gadkari added what cannot be done by the government is being done by the Ashram. Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who inaugurated the event, hailed the contribution of tribal communities in India's freedom struggle.

"History could be re-written if the contribution of tribals in the freedom struggle was explored in detail. The tribals were in the forefront during India's first war of independence in 1857. The nation can't forget the contribution of tribal leaders like Birsa Munda, Komaram Bheem, Hirabai, Rani Gaidinliu of Nagaland, and many others in various struggles," he cited.

Lamenting that tribal communities have not received the benefits of development as much as others, Rao said there should be a separate chapter in school text books which will highlight the role of tribals in the freedom struggle and civilisation.

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