JAMMU: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Choudhary Zulfkar Ali on Sunday said J&K’s tribal community is an important constituent of the State’s population, and the Government is formulating a comprehensive settlement policy for them.
Speaking during “All J&K Gujjar Bakerwal Conference”, the Minister said, “Our tribal communities have always laid down their lives for safeguarding the interests of the State and the country and even today they are directly or indirectly involved in the same without even getting paid for it.”
Highlighting the contribution of the Gujjar-Bakerwal community, the Minister said that they have always stood by the nation, and there are many instances available in the history bearing witness to their struggle in this regard.
Zulfkar Ali informed the gathering that the Government under the guidance of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is working on formulating a comprehensive settlement policy under which the tribal communities would be rehabilitated. He added that on CM’s instructions a committee has already been constituted in this regard which working on the formulation of the policy.
The Minister said the Government is committed to make residential colonies for tribal population with all the basic facilities including water, power and good roads.
Demanding strict action against those who have illegally grabbed hundreds of acres of Government land, the Minister said land grabbing is a serious crime which no Government would tolerate and should be dealt with strictly. However, those who over a period of time are using a small patches of land for shelter should be left alone.
Drawing inference from human body, the Minister said while the Government is a complete human body, tribal community represents one of its parts, adding the entire body would feel pain if one of its parts is in pain. He said for creating a strong system, downtrodden people have to be uplifted.
While expressing his gratitude to the CM, the Minister said that he was sincerely grateful to Ms Mehbooba Mufti for taking a decision that no tribal would be dislocated from the forest land. He said Mehbooba Mufti led Government is serious for the welfare of the community and are taking all possible steps in this direction.
Highlighted the importance of education, the Minister said present age is the age of knowledge, and only those make a difference who are educated. He said if you want to improve your living standards, or want to do something for your community, it is possible only when you are a literate person. The Minister said that the literacy lets you know the options that are there for taking, besides gives you information about various welfare schemes meant for your community. He said with education you could become a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer and with your profession you could later make a difference to your people. A person should give whatever, sacrifice is required to acquire knowledge, he added.
While assuring of raising all the issues that were brought up during the conference with the concerned Ministers, the Minister also announced opening of Government Depot for the area. Besides, he also instructed to ensure that nomadic population gets ration at Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg, and assured that on February 6th Directorate of FCS&CA would revise the prices of Milk and meat.
Earlier, Minister for Revenue, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari assuring the people present of all possible help from the Government said that he will hold a meeting with Choudhary Zulfkar Ali and with various Gujjar-Bakerwal representatives to discuss various issues the community is facing, and would try to find a way to address them at the earliest.
Urging the community to maintain the unity, the Minister said, unity is must for the development of any nation and we have to ensure that we as a society maintain unity among ourselves at all costs.
The Minister said no religion teaches hatred. Therefore, it is important that we spread the message of love and peace so that our children would have a better society to live in, he said.
Director, FCS&CA, G S Chib, Haji Mohammad Yousuf, Choudhary Mohammad Yaseen Poswal, and other prominent leaders from the community attended the function.