AGARTALA: The Left Front government in Tripura on Tuesday announced a separate development package of Rs 4,463 crore for tribal and minority communities in the state.
After 1999 and 2004, this is the third time that the Left Front government announced a development package for the tribals and the government has a view that backwardness of tribal areas needs special attention.
Tribal welfare minister Aghore Debbarma admitted that safe drinking water is yet to reach 1,675 hamlets, while 1266 villages do not have power. Besides, most of these places also don’t have road link.
Despite spending crores of rupees since the Seventies for the development of tribals, still more than 28,000 tribals are practising slash-and-burn (jhum) method of agriculture, alleged Tripura Pradesh Congress president Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, who is also a tribal.
“Taking advantage of government support to poor tribals in rubber cultivation, a section of affluent non-tribals has set up rubber estates on tribal land, destroying forests,” said Hrangkhawl.
He added that the opposition has been demanding a comprehensive development plan for the tribals because central funds are being siphoned off in the name of tribal development.
Debbarma, however, said the state government would spend Rs 3,400 crore for the development of tribals in the next five years and the money would be spent for both capacity building of beneficiaries as well as development of infrastructure.
“The package will extend support to 1.20 lakh land-deed owners, who got patta under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, and also to frame a comprehensive plan for holistic development of people,” added Debbarma.
“Tripura has been persuading the Centre for a long time to finance program-based activities for the beneficiaries of Forest Right Act, as the state became pioneer in patta distribution,” he said.