Calls for unity, peace, educational emancipation to built strong community
JAMMU, MARCH 18: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali on Saturday said that Government is striving hard for socio-economic development of State’s tribal population.
Speaking at Gujjar-Bakerwal Conference (GBC) held here at auditorium of United Farm Balwal, the Minister said people in the past only thought about tribal population during election times to fetch votes from them. After coming to power the community was conveniently ignored to receive any kind of development, he said.
The Minister said it was only after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became JK’s Chief Minister that a separate tribal ministry came into existence. He said before late Mufti no one was bothered about welfare of Gujjars and Bakerwals. “This is the reason for why it took 40 years for Gujjar community to get Scheduled Tribe status in J&K,” he said.
Referring to the tribal population as true nationalists, the Minister said the history bears witness to the sacrifices the community has made for the defense, and welfare of the country.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas,” Zulfkar Ali said the holistic development of country is only possible when every section of the society is taken on board and developmental strategies are formulated for each and every section, irrespective of their region, religion, caste, creed or gender.
The Minister said country is like a human body and if one part of the body is in pain, the entire body feels the pain. Likewise, the Minister said, even if you have developed the entire country, but left some communities marginalized and areas, the country would not grow in its real sense.
The Minister said JK Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti keeps on urging that no one has a right to say that State is on path of development if the developmental aspirations of every community, irrespective of its size, are not taken into consideration.
The Minister said instead of thinking on regional lines, the present government under the leadership of Ms Mehbooba Mufti is keen for the holistic development of all three regions of the State. He said the beauty of democracy is that people have power to decide whom to choose to form a government.
The Minister added serious efforts are being made to safeguard interests of every section of the society in the State. “Considering the fact that I come from the community therefore, I understand your problems thoroughly,” acknowledged the Minister, who added that he as an individual and Government in general have tried hard to raise and address the genuine problems the tribal population.
Enumerating the initiatives taken by the government for the welfare of the tribal population, the Minister said while the Government is busy in formulating rehabilitation policy for tribal population, meanwhile, separate “nomadic ration policy” has already been implemented so that the mobile community does not face any inconvenience in getting their quota of ration. He further informed that the Government is forming a “dairy farming policy”. He said despite resentment from some quarters, the FCS&CA department still revised the rates of various dairy products with an aim to give due reward to the community for their hard work. He said the Government is in pursuit to bring the profession of people dealing with milk and its products into an organized sector so that all the products that milk rarer sells gets their due amount.
He advised the community members present to beware of miscreants who with their nefarious designs are trying to disrupt the State’s peace and harmony. He said some unwanted elements in the society would try their best to derelict the community members from their righteous path. However, such moves should be immediately scuttled, he added.
The Minister stressed the importance of getting education, and said a community would never thrive if it deprives itself from the blessings of education. He questioned for what good the reservation would do to community if its members are illiterate? He said the illiteracy is an evil which prevents people from reaping many benefits.
A community becomes strong when its foundation is cemented with the power of knowledge, the Minister said, adding all the goals that Gujjar-Bakerwal Conference aspires could be achieved if stress is imparted on education.
The Minister asked the community to stay united and said that Gujjar-Bakerwal Conference provides them an excellent platform to highlight their issues. He emphasized on every member of community to come under its umbrella as it will help them to get what they are striving for.
Earlier speakers including President Gujjar-Bakerwal Conference (GBC) Haji Yusuf also lauded the efforts of Zulfkar Ali. The speakers said that despite the busy schedule the Minister always not only gives them a patient hearing, but also tries to help the community whichever, way it is possible for him.
Director, FCS&CA G S Chib, GBC leaders Choudhary Hussain Ali Waffa, Choudhary Yaseen Poswal and other leaders were also present in the function.