Sunday, September 07, 2008


Nomadic, denotified tribes send 24-point charter to Cong & BJP ASSEMBLY POLLS:

Seek inclusion of demands in parties’ election manifesto
-DP Bhattacharya (Tuesday, October 02, 2007 )Ahmedabad, October 01AS political parties get busy preparing an agenda for the upcoming Assembly elections, the nomadic and denotified tribes (NTDNT) of the State have forwarded their issues to the Congress and the BJP, seeking inclusion in their election manifesto.
The issues, highlighted in a 24-point charter of demands, include inclusion of all adult members of the communities in the voter’s list, issuing of identity cards to the community members—who are carrying out their traditional professions, ensuring percolation of welfare schemes announced by the State Government to these communities.
The charter also raises the issue of APL cards for NTDNT families, claiming that they hardly earn enough to buy two square meals a day. It also seeks that vocational training be given to youth belonging to the community who have studied till Standard VII. The charter also urges parties to ensure that the communities settled across the State are not displaced and in case such a situation becomes unavoidable, adequate rehabilitation programmes be announced. It may be noted here that majority of these communities do not enjoy any right over the land they inhabit.
The communities have also demanded that as the State Government pays insurance premium to the Agariya community, similar facility be also extended to other NTDNT communities as well.
Lakshman Bajania, a community leader from Bajania community from Jalalabad village in Sami taluka in Patan District told Express Newsline that while the communities were earlier unfamiliar with developmental schemes and oblivious to the existence of other communities, they are now gradually getting organised. “A forum called Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM) has been formed with representation from all communities. We are learning about our rights and schemes announced by the government for us,” he said adding that the communities have already sent a list of demands to both the Congress and the BJP.
Mittal Patel of VSSM, Ahmedabad, said that while these communities comprise of more than 50 lakh of the State’s population, they are spread very thin and hence do not have much political weightage.
“Also illiteracy and lack of awareness have kept them away from the political arena so far,” Patel said adding that VSSM has separately sent the list to the state headquarters of the two parties. “ Already, Congress has acknowledged the charter and we have been told that they’ll consider the demands for inclusion in the manifesto,” Patel added.
The Charter
  • Seeks inclusion of adult members of NTDNT communities in voter’s list Issuance of ID cards to community members
  • Asks parties to ensure that welfare schemes announced by State Government percolate to communities
  • Raises issue of issuance of APL cards to NTDNT families, claiming they can barely afford two square meals per day
  • Seeks vocational training for youths who have studied upto Std VII
  • Seeks that communities, settled across State, not be displaced; and, if such a need arises, rehabilitation programmes be announced
  • Demand payment of insurance premium on the lines of one given to agariya community
    ‘NTDNT make up more than 50 lakh of State’s population’