Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on December 24 met delegates of All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) and assured them to take positive steps to fulfil their demands.
In the meeting, AASAA representatives demanded that their demand for granting of Schedule Tribe status to tea community must be fulfilled at an early date and they were informed that appropriate steps would be taken after submission of GoM report.
They also said Adivasi Development Council should be extended in all parts of Assam as it is currently operational in only Sixth Schedule areas of the state.
In other areas, Tea Tribes Welfare Board is given responsibility to look after the issues of the tea community.
The chief minister assured of taking positive steps in this regard after holding discussion with concerned department. The chief minister also urged AASAA to submit a revenue circle wise list of eligible beneficiaries for providing land pattas to tea community members as the state government has been taking steps towards that end.
AASAA raised the issue of other non eligible communities getting caste certificates as tea community members and the Chief Minister urged them to prepare the ground for constituting a bonafide organisation to represent each of 106 sub-castes under Adivasi community so that authenticity could be maintained.
He stressed on the need to prepare a structure where genuine beneficiaries could receive caste certificates and also sentiments of all sub-groups could be honoured. The chief minister assured AASAA of all support from the state government for organising a state level football competition in the name of Justin Lakra and he also said the government would look into their demands of declaring Karam Puja as a government holiday.
Appointment of Adivasi language teachers in HS Schools of the state, increasing seats for free coaching camp of tea community students for UPSC, APSC, Medical and Engineering entrance exams were some of the their other demands.
Later, the chief minister held a separate meeting with the representatives of All Santhal Students’ Union and received a memorandum containing their various demands. In response to their demand of building martyrs’ memorial to honour all those who lost their lives in various conflicts to protect the communities’ interest, assurances were given that the state government would take steps for building the same.
All Santhal Students’ Union was also urged to provide a list of all the martyrs whose families received or were left out from getting ex-gratia in the aftermath of martyrdom so that appropriate steps could be taken in this regard.
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