JAMMU, DECEMBER 18: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has asserted that the aim of the present Government in the State is to unite communities and regions so that the people of Jammu & Kashmir progress together like a family.
Addressing a tribal Convention here today, the Chief Minister said her Government would not tolerate injustice to any section, region or community and everything would be decided on merit. She said the State has seen many unfortunate uprootings of communities in the past and history is witness that nobody has benefitted from such events but everybody has suffered.
Mehbooba Mufti, however, cautioned people against the elements that derive their vested interest by pitting one community against another in which they not only harm the interests of the State but also of the individual communities. She said this is a big challenge and the wise people of the State would rise to the occasion to make the State progressive and forward looking.
Terming Gujjar community as guardians of forests, the Chief Minister said Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has himself acknowledged their contribution in protecting forests and he is keen to better their lot. She said the State and the Centre have released adequate funds for the welfare of tribal communities including Gujjars in the State which reflects seriousness of the two Governments for their welfare.
On the initiatives being taken for the welfare of Gujjar community, Mehbooba Mufti said a concept of cluster villages is being piloted to provide all basic facilities of life like healthcare, drinking water, electricity and communication to the community inhabited areas without disturbing their ethno-cultural ethos. She said she has thought of a Milk Village scheme under which model villages would be developed where the milk collection, dumping and distribution would be done under scientific supervision and giving the beneficiaries a good market return for their produce.
The Chief Minister said her Government has already launched a scheme under which smokeless chulhas would be given to families of Gujjar community to ensure a clean and pollution free space in their kitchens. She said she would be asking the concerned Departments to raise sheds on the tracks used by members for the nomadic community members during their migratory trips to save them from heat and rain.
Asking the Gujjar community to impart quality education to their children, Ms Mehbooba said that education is the only way to empowerment for communities and nations. “It is heartening to note that through various initiatives at the Government and the civil society level, the educational standards have started improving and more youth from the Gujjar community are now qualifying the prestigious competitive examinations like IAS, IFS, IPS, KAS and KPS every year,” she said and added that the nurturing of competitiveness in academics is going to go a long way in the real empowerment of the community.
In his address, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Choudhary Zulfkar said the present Government deeply senses the aspirations and demands of the Gujjar community. He thanked the Chief Minister for the initiatives she has taken for the welfare of the community.
Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar in his address said the educational endeavor made by the community members in terms of the GDCT is an inspiration for other communities and groups in the state to follow.
Former Deputy Speaker, Legislative Assembly, Mohammad Sartaj Madni, in his speech sought special drive for setting up of schools in the Gujjar habitations and also redressal of issues raised by community leaders from time to time.
Vice-Chairman, Gujjar Bakerwal Advisory Board, Choudhary Zaffar Khatana; Patron, Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust, Masud Choudhary; former MLA, Nizamuddin Bhat and a large number of people were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the Chief Minister also laid the foundation of academic and residential complex of Khuda Baksh Higher Secondary School at Channi. She also launched the website of the school. She went round various sections of the school and interacted with the faculty and students.
Interacting with the students, Mehbooba Mufti asked them to excel in both education and sports disciplines without losing the originality of the language and culture. She said Government would provide all support in terms of scholarships and other assistance to the students of the community.