Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today reiterated his government’s assurance to push the case for grant of Scheduled Tribe status to the Pahari-speaking community in the state. The government will initiate effective measures for equitable and inclusive development of its people, in particular those underprivileged sections which live infar-flung and inaccessible areas, Sayeed said addressing the 13th Annual Meeting of the State Advisory Board for Development of Pahari-speaking people.
“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 said. Emphasizing upon filling up critical gaps in the development of Pahari-speaking people in the state, the Chief Minister said the government will provide equal opportunities for up-liftment of 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. Sayeed also ordered framing of a Committee that will choose the best possible persons to man the position of wardens so that hostels are run in a professional manner. He also announced enhancement of diet allowance from present Rs 50 to Rs 100 in favour of the students living in the Pahari hostels.
Endorsing the request of PDP president and Lok Sabha MP Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister desired that two Model Schools on pilot basis be set up in the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar so that Pahari students have access to modern tools of e-learning.
Mehbooba, in her speech, said the government is aware about the demand for ST status for Pahari community and is actively pursuing the matter with the Union Government. She also emphasized upon providing basic amenities to the people who, she said have been an epitome of secularism and peace in the state.
Chief Secretary B R Sharma informed the Chief Minister that a budgetary provision of Rs 19.50 crore has been earmarked for the board in the current fiscal. He assured the Chief Minister for monitoring so that the funds allocated for Pahari-speaking people are expended in full.