GUWAHATI, Oct 21 � The Assam Scheduled Caste Welfare Forum recently submitted memoranda to the PM, Home Minister, Minister for Social Justice, chairman, National Commission for SC, CM, Assam and Sonia Gandhi, chairperson, UPA. The memorandum alleged that Scheduled Caste (SC) people of Assam have been deprived of reserved facilities like seats in Medical, Engineering, Veterinary, etc, colleges, IITs, RECs, colleges of general education and other institutions of learning, seats in legislative and local bodies and jobs in various government departments and public sector undertakings including Assam Civil Service and Assam Police Service because of fake SC certificates issued to by a section of non-Scheduled Caste people in certain areas, particularly of some lower Assam districts and for want of proper official check and verification of certificates and other documents. The things have come to such a pass that high-level enquiry is necessary to curb such illegal activities. The Assam SC Welfare Forum has moved the authorities for an enquiry by a High Court judge into the deprivation in respect of the reserved facilities.This was stated in a press release.
Action should be taken to ensure that the facilities reserved for Scheduled Castes should not go to those who are not in the list of Scheduled Castes in Assam. For years there have been complaints of funds for SC welfare, delay/non-payment of post-matric scholarship to SC students, misappropriation of LP/ME school funds for SC students, payment of SC money to fictitious institutions and benefits going to non-SC people under SC development schemes. There have also been complaints of rural indebtedness, mounting unemployment, non-rehabilitation of flood and erosion victims. The problem of landlessness has not been tackled. Legislation is urgently needed to ban sale of SC people�s land to others.
From time immemorial, fishery has been the traditional occupation of most SC people of the State but they are being ousted and their livelihood is being threatened. The memorandum urged the authorities to put an end to this and reserve cent per cent settlement of fisheries, river ghats, etc, for SC people and necessary government instructions should be issued to that effect.
Earlier, during his visit to Guwahati in 2009, former Union Home Minister and former chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Buta Singh said; �There is no system worth the name to monitor; implementation of schemes and utilisation of fund for SC people in Assam. Here no follow-up action has been taken for the integrated development of a number of SC majority villages under Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana, which is Centrally-sponsored scheme launched by the government in five States � Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu as announced by the Prime Minister.
The SC people do not know if there is any department caring for them under such a situation they are confused and disillusioned. Activists of a SC student body took out procession, �Raj Bhawan Yatra, demanding the Governor�s intervention in the SC affairs in Assam and a separate secretariat for SC people. Activists of Anusuchit Jati Mahasabha have alleged neglect of the SC people by the State Government, held a protest rally at Guwahati and submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) demanding, among other things, a separate secretariat for SC people and a cabinet minister belonging to SC for uplift of the SC people.
At the Centre, there are separate ministries and commissions for STs and SCs. There is no reason for not keeping the SC affairs with separate allocations and budget provisions for various development programmes for SCs in the charge of a Scheduled Caste Minister at Dispur in view of the magnitude and complexity of their problems.
Former Union Home Minister and former chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Caste, expressed sentiments of the Chatra Santha and SC Mahasabha and the eight seats (SC) in the 126-member Assam Legislative Assembly will, convince the authorities to appoint a suitable Scheduled Caste MLA as cabinet minister to look after the long neglected SC affairs to promote the welfare of the SC people, the memorandum added.
Since 1950, the only Lok Sabha seat (SC) for Assam is not in the central at Nagaon in the Brahmaputra Valley (also known as Assam Valley) but in the remote and distant southernmost corner at Karimganj in the Barak Valley shut off from the Brahmaputra Valley by the hill State of Meghalaya and the autonomous hill districts (37,722 sqkm) more than five times bigger than the Barak Valley (6,941 sqkm) whose SC population is less than 21% of the total SC population of the State.
The seat at Karimganj is totally disadvantageous to the vast majority of the SC people in the Brahmaputra Valley and is not at all meeting their needs. Their various problems remain unnoticed, unaired and unaddressed. In connection with the rotation of Scheduled Caste constituencies, the Delimitation Commission of India chairman Justice Kuldip Singh told reporters in New Delhi in 2008 that some of the constituencies were reserved for several decades and this should not happen and there should be some methodology.
�The commission recommends that the government may consider incorporating suitable provision is law to provide for rotation in the reservation of SC constituencies,� he said. Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami, who is a member of the commission, was also present. The authorities have been moved to consider the case of the long-suffering aggrieved Scheduled Caste people of the Brahmaputra Valley and carry out rotation of the seat to the central area at Nagaon in accordance with the recommendation of the Delimitation Commission with effect from the next Lok Sabha election, the release added.