|Mamata speaks to the media in Jalpaiguri on Monday. Picture by Biplab Basak|
TT, Jalpaiguri, March 27: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced that the state would soon form an advisory council for the development of Scheduled Caste communities.
The announcement came after she held the second meeting of the Tribal Advisory Council at the PWD inspection bungalow here today. The council was formed last year to expedite the socio-economic development of adivasis in the state.
"There are around 30 lakh students in our state from different Scheduled Caste communities and the total SC population in Bengal is in crores. To give impetus to the comprehensive development of the SCs, we have decided to form an SC Advisory Council in the state," Mamata told newspersons this evening.
The announcement, observers said, reflects the common strategy taken by Mamata to keep disgruntled communities in the hills happy.
"In the hills, she has announced the formation of development boards one after another, as representatives of different hill communities approached her. This time, she has taken the same strategy of addressing the demands of Scheduled Castes of the state. After the tribal advisory council was formed, grievances were articulated by a number of forums representing different SC communities," an observer said.
Through today's announcement, the chief minister intends to pass the message that the state has plans to stand by the SC population, who forms a sizeable portion of Bengal's vote bank.
Mamata, who is well aware of the presence of tribal population in the rural pockets, tea estates and forest villages of north Bengal, said the government was creating a dictionary of "Alchiki," a language spoken by Santhals.
"We want languages of different communities like Rajbangshis and Santhals to be used as the medium of instruction in education. That is why we are focussing on these languages. The task of preparing a comprehensive dictionary on Alchiki language is a part of this initiative," she said.
In north Bengal, there has been a consistent demand from Santhals and Rajbangshis to introduce their languages as the medium of instruction. Mamata's move, observers said, would surely placate the grievances of these communities.
The chief minister also mentioned monthly assistance of Rs 400 provided to the SC students.
"We cannot increase the amount as the Centre is taking away a hefty portion from the state exchequer. In tea gardens, we are providing several services. A central minister had said the Centre would reopen seven closed tea estates but could not keep the commitment," she said.
She was referring to the Centre's move to acquire seven tea estates of Duncans' Goenka Group.
Mamata welcomed the Supreme Court order on Aadhar. "We welcome the order of the Supreme Court. It is wrong on the part of the Centre to come up with a directive that a person cannot get pension or withdraw money from bank without Aadhar," Mamata said.
She denied the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's allegation that the government was infringing on the functioning of the GTA.