Paswan to launch nationwide stir

Employment ‘should be’ fundamental right

Our Correspondent Ludhiana, June 24

The Union Minister for Communication and the President of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) gave a call to the weaker sections and the Dalit community to join hands with his party for a just and equitable society.

Addressing a “jan jagran’ rally at the Grain market here today, Mr Paswan focussed on the plight of the Dalits and outlined his party’s commitment for their emancipation. He said his party would launch a nationwide stir from August 1 to August 9 to mobilise public opinion for the inclusion of “right to employment” among the fundamental rights. The LJP would strive for free and compulsory education for children up to the age of 14 years, as envisioned by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, father of the Indian Constitution.

Mr Paswan released a commemorative stamp on Sri Guru Ravi Das at the rally. He announced that a commemorative stamp on Maharaja Ranjit Singh would be issued in next three months and a postal stamp on Maharishi Valmiki would also be issued. The rally was also attended by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Tota Singh, Minister for Education, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Minister for Agriculture and Mr Vijay Danav, Joint Secretary, Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj.

The LJP President lamented that since the Independence, the successive Congress governments had paid only lip service to the weaker sections. With the NDA government headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee taking over at the Centre, there had been a sea change but even now comprehensive plans were yet to be formulated to alleviate poverty and to improve the lot of farmers, farm workers and women.

He said his party had taken up the matter with the government to seek reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to the size of their population. The LJP, he maintained, would continue to fight against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and unemployment which were the main stumbling blocks in the uplift of the Dalits.

The Union Minister gave a clarion call to his party cadres to consolidate the organisational set-up right from the district level to block, mohalla and village level and to propagate the policies and programmes of the party.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Badal outlined his government’s agenda for the welfare of the weaker sections of society and the Dalits. The SAD-BJP government, he said, stood for peace, prosperity and communal amity.

Claiming that the uplift of the dalits was among the top priorities of his government, the Chief Minister claimed that the government had so far disbursed Rs 45.41 crore under the “shagun scheme” for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Another Rs 15 crore had been provided to panchayats for the purchase of land for houseless poor where government land was not available and the government had formulated a plan to set up Valmiki bhavans at all district headquarters and a grant of Rs 50 lakh had been provided for the Valmiki Bhavan here.

Expressing serious concern over lack of focus on the plight of the poor in the government planning system, he stressed the need for an immediate shift in the Budget allocation of the Centre under which at least 85 per cent funds were earmarked for alleviation of poverty and the welfare of the poorest of the poor.

The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to Sri Guru Ravi Das and appealed people to follow in the footsteps of great gurus and saints who had spread the message of brotherhood and respect for all religions.

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Referred by: Ambedkar Times
Published on: June 26, 2001
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