Declare Gaddis ST, Dhumal urges Centre

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 15

The Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, has made a fresh plea to the Union Government to declare Gaddi and Gujjar communities of the merged areas of Himachal and the entire trans-Giri area in Sirmour district as Scheduled Tribes.

Mr Dhumal told the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Mr Jual Oram, currently on a visit to Shimla, that the Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Pangi and Bharmaur areas of Chamba district had already been declared Scheduled Tribe areas and Kinnaura, Bodh, Khampa, Lahaula, Swangala, Pangwalas, Gaddi and Gujjar communities in these areas enjoyed the Scheduled Tribe status.

However, Gujjars and Gaddis of the merged areas had not been declared Scheduled Tribes though they belong to the same race and their culture, language and profession were also the same, he added.

He said it was only on account of historical, territorial and delineation that the Gaddis and Gujjars of merged areas, except those of Lahaul and Spiti, had not been declared tribesmen. It was an aberration that the same community living in different parts of the state was having different status and it must be rectified, he added.

After the reorganisation and merger of certain areas of Punjab with Himachal Pradesh, the same community living in different areas of the state and having different status has led to an anomalous situation and this anomaly was required to be rectified.

He said similarly the communities living in the trans-Giri areas of the Shillai and Sangrah area, which were very backward in terms of economic development, also merited being declared as Scheduled Tribe because such communities living in the adjoining areas of Uttaranchal have been given the status.

The Chief Minister apprised Mr Oram the state legislative assembly had also passed unanimous resolution in support of this demand which had also been conveyed to the Government of India.

The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs while agreeing in principle with the suggestion assured the Chief Minister he would take an early decision on this issue as similar proposals from other state governments had also been received by his ministry.

Earlier, the Union Minister reviewed the development activities being undertaken in Himachal for the development and welfare of tribesmen. Chet Ram Negi, Parliamentary Secretary, and the Secretary, Tribal Development, Mr Subhash Negi, were also present at the meeting.

He expressed satisfaction regarding allocation of 9 per cent Plan outlay being made by the state government for the tribal areas against the Scheduled Tribe population of only 3 per cent in these areas. He also expressed satisfaction about the construction of hostels for boys and girls for colleges and schools on which about Rs 7 crore are being spent.

He also assured the proposal of the state government for construction of hostels at Chamba, Solan and Shimla would be favourably considered by his ministry. He impressed on the state government to assess the requirement of funds for post matric scholarship and send the proposal to his ministry.

The minister suggested the state government should start model schools for tribal students at Nichar in Kinnaur district wherein the students would be selected on merit basis and free education, including boarding and lodging, would be provided to the students and the syllabus would be on the pattern of public schools.

The minister said a separate Scheduled Tribes Finance Corporation had been set up by the Union Government and funds would be provided through this corporation for starting self-employment ventures in service sectors, processing of agriculture and horticulture produce in private sector, including cold storage. He also urged the state government to consider setting up independent ITI and Polytechnics for tribal students for vocational courses for which funds would be provided by the Government of India. BJYM STATE CHIEF HELD NASIK: Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s (BJYM) Maharashtra unit president Prof Suhas Pharande was arrested on Monday on the charges of allegedly abusing and manhandling the general secretary of BJP’s Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes cell Ganesh Kamble on May 7. Prof Pharande was later released on bail of Rs 7000. PTI

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 17, 2001
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