Commission for Schedule Tribes lists out welfare imperatives
Dimapur, Oct. 21 (EMN): The National Commission of Schedule Tribes (NCST) has asked a road construction company working the four-lane highway to make it ‘motor-able’ for citizens. Likewise, the commission asked government departments to establish sufficient market linkages for farmers get their proper remunerative prices for their products in the markets.
These were some of the welfare recommendations that the commission made during a press conference they gave in Kohima. A delegation of the NCST lead by its chairperson Dr. Nand Kumar Sai reviewed the activities and developmental projects undertaken by the government of Nagaland for the welfare of tribal people.
The team consists of chairperson and two NCST members namely Harshadbhai Chunnilal Vasava, Hari Krishna Damor; and Sisir Kumar Ratho, joint secretary to the government of India, NCST and Lhoubeilatuo Kire, additional chief secretary to the government of Nagaland.
A press conference with the NCST was conducted in the chief secretary’s conference hall, on October 22 at the Secretariat in Kohima.
The joint secretary to the government of India, NCST, Sisir Kumar Ratho said that the commission was set up sanctioned by Article 338A on bifurcation of the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to oversee the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes in the constitution of India.
Highlighting the functions of the commission, he said that the commission investigates and monitors all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Schedule Tribes in the Constitution or under any order of the government.
It also evaluates the working of such safeguards, inquires into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of Scheduled Tribes, participates and advises in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and present to the president annual reports about the working of the safeguards.
The chairperson of the NCST Dr. Nand Kumar Sai addressed the press conference too. Sai said that the visiting commission had reviewed the various activities and steps that had been taken by the state government for the welfare of the tribal people of Nagaland.
The commission directed National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) to make the Kohima-Dimapur road “motor-able at least two-lane” for people to be able to travel on it. The directive came after the commission team called for the regional head of the NHIDCL to explain the reasons for the delay in completing of the work on the national highway.
According to the NHIDCL, the stipulated time for the completion of the highway is September 2019. However, considering the magnitude of the work, the expected time of completion will be March 2020. The company will cover a total of 45 km, from Patkai Bridge to Jotsoma bypass point, out of 74 km. This was divulged to Eastern Mirror the previous year.
Also, highlighting the need for market linkage in Nagaland, the commission said Nagaland is fortunate to have organic products and herbs. But they need to be properly processed and stored and marketed internationally and at the national level, the IPR reported the officials as having said at the press conference.
‘Therefore, the commission suggested that adequate market linkages should be provided so that farmers get their proper remunerative price for their products in the markets,’ the IPR stated.
Further, the commission’s officials stated that Nagaland state had a high scope for herbal and ‘traditional medicines.’ Accordingly, the state government and the departments in concern are asked to make a list of ‘traditional medicinal practitioners’ so that their knowledge can be retained and passed on to the next generation.
The commission also said that due to damage of crops by animals and natural calamities, farmer in many villages are facing numerous problems. In order to tackle and resolve such issues the commission has instructed the government to pay crop damage compensation to the farmers immediately.
Sai said that the commission spent considerable time with elders, women and youths of Kigwema and Khonoma villages deliberating on many challenges the community faces. The official said that the villagers presented before the officials their grievances.
Further, the team had on Oct. 21 visited Khonoma and Kigwema village in Kohima district and had interactions with the villagers. On learning the Kigwema villagers faced lack of various infrastructural facilities, the commission in coordination with the state government agreed to develop the village on matters such as setting up of Anganwadi centres, enhancing school up-to class-XI, building community hall, and provide with water storage facility.
Further, the commission assured to look into the condition of the roads in these villages. It also lauded Kigwema village for producing organic vegetables and fruits.
The commission requested the state government provide adequate market linkages, in order for farmer to get proper remunerative price. Also, noting the scope for improvement of herbal and traditional medicines in the state, the commission had asked the state govt. to prepare a list such traditional medicine practitioners, so as to retained knowledge for the generations to come.
It also highlighted the post-matric scholarship, particularly for technical students studying outside the state. The commission requested the government to streamline the process of post-matric scholarships. Meanwhile, Lhoubeilatuo Kire, Additional Chief Secretary assured that a specific scholarship cell with the Higher Education department was set to look into procedures.
The commission directed the state government to immediately link to the ministry of Tribal Affairs’ website in order for students who are studying outside the state to receive entitled scholarships and stipends.
Considering the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, the commission also wondered whether or not there is any provision for payment of compensation to the victims of atrocities from Nagaland state. The team also urged the state government to compensate landowners if at all it is due.