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State govt announces slew of welfare steps

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Amidst the ongoing statewide uproar over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the State cabinet today took a number of decisions in a bid to appease different indigenous groups, which included among others, creation of three new autonomous councils, reservation of seats for different communities in educational institutions, and measures for securing land rights for the indigenous people.

The State government will also request the Central government to make Assamese the State language by amending Article 345 of the Constitution. However, this will not be applicable in the Barak valley, BTAD and the hill districts, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, addressing the media.

Assamese will also be made a compulsory subject in schools of all mediums, excluding those in the Barak valley, BTAD and the hill districts.

The government will also create three new autonomous councils � Kamatapur Autonomous Council for the Koch Rajbongshis, Moran Autonomous Council and Muttock Autonomous Council � which will be activated by May. The State government will also request the Centre to grant constitutional status to the autonomous councils so that they receive central grants as well. The CEMs (chief executive members) of the autonomous councils will be the ex officio members of the Sub Divisional Land Advisory Councils.

The birthday of Sati Sadhini, a legend of Assamese history, will be a State holiday and a new State university will be set up in Golaghat and named after her.

The Tai Ahom, Chutiya and Koch Rajbongshi development councils will be restructured. A special one-time assistance of Rs 250 crore will be given to the Tai Ahom Council, while the amounts for the other two councils will be worked out later, the minister said.

While the Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbongshi and Chutiya communities already enjoy the OBC quota, seats will be specially reserved for the communities in all the medical colleges, engineering colleges, agriculture colleges, veterinary colleges and fishery college, besides postgraduate seats in general universities. One additional medical seat each will be reserved for the Moran, Muttock, and the tea communities.

Seats will be also reserved for the tea and Adivasi communities in all the general colleges and universities. The allocation for the tea tribes welfare department has been enhanced by hundred per cent. Moreover, the government will set up 100 high schools in the tea belts and work on them will start in 90 days.

The cabinet also hiked the wages of ATC garden workers from Rs 137 to Rs 167 with effect from January 1.

The Finance Minister said the government will also bring a law to secure the land rights of the indigenous people.

�We hope to bring the law in the next assembly session, after taking it up in the next cabinet meeting. The law will be such that indigenous people cannot sell land to non-indigenous people. This will ensure that the land remains with the indigenous people,� he said.

The government will also bring a heritage protection law, making activities like encroachment of sattra land and other heritage sites a criminal offence.

Two new medical colleges will be set up � one at Biswanath and the other at Sivasagar.

The Bajali subdivision will be upgraded to a district with the headquarters at Pathsala.

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State govt announces slew of welfare steps

GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Amidst the ongoing statewide uproar over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the State cabinet today took a number of decisions in a bid to appease different indigenous groups, which included among others, creation of three new autonomous councils, reservation of seats for different communities in educational institutions, and measures for securing land rights for the indigenous people.

The State government will also request the Central government to make Assamese the State language by amending Article 345 of the Constitution. However, this will not be applicable in the Barak valley, BTAD and the hill districts, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, addressing the media.

Assamese will also be made a compulsory subject in schools of all mediums, excluding those in the Barak valley, BTAD and the hill districts.

The government will also create three new autonomous councils � Kamatapur Autonomous Council for the Koch Rajbongshis, Moran Autonomous Council and Muttock Autonomous Council � which will be activated by May. The State government will also request the Centre to grant constitutional status to the autonomous councils so that they receive central grants as well. The CEMs (chief executive members) of the autonomous councils will be the ex officio members of the Sub Divisional Land Advisory Councils.

The birthday of Sati Sadhini, a legend of Assamese history, will be a State holiday and a new State university will be set up in Golaghat and named after her.

The Tai Ahom, Chutiya and Koch Rajbongshi development councils will be restructured. A special one-time assistance of Rs 250 crore will be given to the Tai Ahom Council, while the amounts for the other two councils will be worked out later, the minister said.

While the Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbongshi and Chutiya communities already enjoy the OBC quota, seats will be specially reserved for the communities in all the medical colleges, engineering colleges, agriculture colleges, veterinary colleges and fishery college, besides postgraduate seats in general universities. One additional medical seat each will be reserved for the Moran, Muttock, and the tea communities.

Seats will be also reserved for the tea and Adivasi communities in all the general colleges and universities. The allocation for the tea tribes welfare department has been enhanced by hundred per cent. Moreover, the government will set up 100 high schools in the tea belts and work on them will start in 90 days.

The cabinet also hiked the wages of ATC garden workers from Rs 137 to Rs 167 with effect from January 1.

The Finance Minister said the government will also bring a law to secure the land rights of the indigenous people.

�We hope to bring the law in the next assembly session, after taking it up in the next cabinet meeting. The law will be such that indigenous people cannot sell land to non-indigenous people. This will ensure that the land remains with the indigenous people,� he said.

The government will also bring a heritage protection law, making activities like encroachment of sattra land and other heritage sites a criminal offence.

Two new medical colleges will be set up � one at Biswanath and the other at Sivasagar.

The Bajali subdivision will be upgraded to a district with the headquarters at Pathsala.