JK to push for ST status for Pahari community

Srinagar: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday reiterated his government’s assurance to push the case for grant of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Pahari community in the state.
He, according to an official handout issued here, said the government will initiate “effective measures” for “equitable and inclusive” development of its people, in particular those underprivileged sections that live in far-flung and inaccessible areas.
“The state cannot progress unless we take along people who have been striving hard for a level-playing field to get their fair share in state’s development,” he stated.
He was speaking at the 13th Annual Meeting of the State Advisory Board for Development of Pahari-speaking people at SKICC here.
Stressing on filling up “critical gaps” in the development of Pahari-speaking people in the state, Mufti said the government will provide equal opportunities for development of the weaker sections of the society with special focus on education and health sectors.
He also stressed upon bettering infrastructure facilities and augmenting human resource in the existing hostels at Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu, Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara districts.
The chief minister also ordered setting up of a committee that will choose the “best possible persons” to man the position of wardens for the hostels to be run in a professional manner.
He also announced enhancement of diet allowance from present Rs 50 to Rs100 in favour of the students living in these Pahari hostels.
Endorsing the request of Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister desired that two model schools be set up on pilot basis in the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar to provide Pahari students with access to modern tools of e-learning.
In her address, Mehbooba Mufti said the government is aware of the demand for ST status for Pahari community and is actively pursuing the matter with the government of India.
She also emphasised on providing basic amenities to the people who have been an epitome of secularism and peace in the state.