Rajasthan announces Rs.2.82 bn package for Gujjars

May 18th, 2008 - 12:26 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Jasraj Chopra

Jaipur, May 17 (IANS) The Rajasthan government has announced a package of Rs.2.82 billion for the upliftment of the Gujjar community, which has been demanding tribal status for better educational and job opportunities. The decision was taken on the basis of a recommendation of a high-powered committee headed by Ramdas Agarwal that was set up by the state government in December to suggest an economic package for Gujjar-dominated areas in the state.

“To begin with, the committee has recommended a special package for 13 of the Gujjar-dominated tehsils, where they are most backward in the state,” Agarwal told IANS here Saturday.

These areas were identified as the most backward of the places by the Justice Jasraj Chopra committee that looked into the Gujjar demand to classify them as tribals.

“Over 1 million Gujjars live in these areas and we have recommended infrastructural development of the area - including roads, water, and electricity. It also includes upgradation of education and medical facilities in these areas,” Agarwal said.

The committee would take up other areas soon, he added.

Gujjars, presently classified among the other backward classes (OBC), held protests all over Rajasthan from May 29 to June 4 last year demanding their inclusion into the Scheduled Tribe category that would give them better employment and educational opportunities.

Normal life was paralysed and at least 26 people were killed in the violence that was heading towards a caste war between Gujjars and Meenas, who are classified as a Scheduled Tribe.

The state government in June last year set up the Justice Chopra committee to look into the Gujjar demand. The committee, which submitted its report in December, rejected the demand but suggested a special package for those members of the community living in under-developed and remote areas of the state.

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