Kohima, October 22: The National Commission of Schedule Tribes (NCST) Tuesday asked the State Government and its various departments to look into the welfare of the tribal people in Nagaland.
A four member NCST team led by its chairperson Dr. Nand Kumar Sai is in the state since Sunday holding deliberations with various State Government agencies and also Governor R N Ravi, besides visiting two villages, Kigwema and Khonoma in Kohima district.
Briefing media persons in the Chief Secretary’s conference hall here Tuesday, Sai said the visiting commission had reviewed various activities and steps taken by the State Government for the welfare of tribal people of Nagaland.
On the dilapidated ongoing four-lane construction of National Highway-29 Dimapur-Kohima road, Sai said the commission called the regional head of contracting agency NHIDCL and directed the agency to make the road motorable for travelers.
He said though Nagaland is a tribal state, but the commission has asked the State Home Department to study the applicability of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act so that the tribals in the State also have the protection as per the Act.
Asked on the commission’s view on protection of tribal people from the atrocities of security and paramilitary forces due to the enforcement of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Sai said there are references of such atrocities, and that the commission has asked for proper inquiry and justice to be delivered.
Further expressing that the commission had spent considerable time with the elders, women and youth of Kigwema and Khonoma villages deliberating on many challenges faced by them, the commission said the villagers have expressed their grievances and requested the commission to look into the problems of proper water storage, upgradation of schools and also improvement of roads.
In this, he said that the commission has directed the State Government and the respective departments to take up the problems of the villagers immediately.
The commission said Nagaland State has high scope of herbal and traditional medicine and has accordingly directed the State Government to make a list of traditional medicinal practitioners so that their knowledge can be retained and passed on to the next generation.
Sai also stressed on the need of market linkage for the rural farmers in the State saying that Nagaland is fortunate to have organic products and herbals which need to be properly processed and stored and marketed internationally and at the national level.
The commission suggested that adequate market linkages should be provided so that farmers get their proper remunerative price for their products in the markets.
The commission also directed the State Government to provide crop damage compensation to the farmers whose crops have been damaged by animals and natural calamities.
Other problems like issues of land compensation, post matric scholarship and construction of anganwadi centres were also discussed by the commission which will be taken up by the State Government for the welfare of the tribal people, said Sai.
Joint Secretary NCST, Sisir Kumar Ratho in his introductory note said the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been set up under Article 338A on bifurcation of erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to oversee the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution.
He said the commission investigates and monitors all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Schedule Tribes under the Constitution or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
It also inquires into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes while also participates and advises in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, Ratho added.
Nagaland Additional Chief Secretary, Lhoubeilatuo Kire, who was also present during the press briefing, informed that the State Government was making all efforts to look into the problems of the tribal people of the State. (Page News Service)