NEW DELHI, Oct 1 - The move to accord Schedule Tribe (ST) status to the six communities of Assam seems to have run out of steam and is unlikely to be resolved soon, as most of the States, including Assam, are yet to submit their input on the new set of modalities.
This was more or less conveyed by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram to a delegation of the six communities, which called on him on Thursday afternoon.
The 15-member delegation had come calling after the September 15 deadline of approval of the revised modalities to the Union Cabinet expired. It was conveyed to the delegation representing the six communities that the consent of the State governments to the revised modalities was essential before they are placed before the Union Cabinet for approval.
So far only 12 States have responded to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the remaining States, including Assam, are yet to reply, an official of the Ministry told the delegation.
Meanwhile, Oram told media persons that the matter is not related to only Assam, as it involves at least 1,000 other communities of the country. In federal polity, the States have to be consulted and the Centre cannot act unilaterally. �The Centre cannot work against the interest of the States,� he said. �We can only hope that the matter is resolved soon,� he added.
Later, All Assam Tea Tribe Association (AATTA) president Prahlad Goala said that nothing concrete came out of the meeting and the process is now likely to get delayed,� he noted.
�We will talk with the State Government and try and find out the exact status. If our demand is not met then we will resume our agitation,� Goala said.
A delegation member disclosed that the agitation is likely to include staging dharnas and gheraoes of the State�s MPs.
On August 6, during an interaction between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Register General of India (RGI) and representative of the six communities, including Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia and Adivasi, it was clarified that the demand for ST status is likely to be fulfilled, though a time frame was not specified.