Major setback to several development projects in Jammu
JAMMU, Mar 7: In significant directions which have the potential of jeopardizing developmental works and even lead to law and order problems, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked the Government officers that the tribal population shouldn’t be disturbed or dislocated and if it (the dislocation) was absolutely necessary, it shouldn’t be undertaken without prior consultations of the Tribal Affairs Department.
The directions were part of the minutes of the meeting held under the chairpersonship of Mehbooba Mufti on February 14 to review working of the Tribal Affairs Department, which among others was attended by Tribal Affairs and FCS&CA Minister Choudhary Zulfikar, Minister of State for Finance and Tribal Affairs Ajay Nanda and top brass of the State administration including the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary Home Department and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.
Sources told the Excelsior that officers of Tribal Affairs Department might have misled the Chief Minister in issuing such directions, which could have serious ramifications on developmental projects.
“The Chief Minister directed the officers that till a formal Tribal Policy is formulated and issued, tribal population shall not be disturbed/dislocated. In case it becomes absolutely necessary to dislocate any member of family of tribal population, the same should be done in prior consultation with the Tribal Affairs Department,” the minutes of the meeting revealed.
The Chief Minister has directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu, police authorities and all the Deputy Commissioners not to provide any police protection for eviction of tribal’s without the approval obtained from the Tribal Affairs Department.
The observers were of the view that the directions by the State Government not to disturb or dislocate tribal population and to the IGP not to provide any police protection for eviction, could have serious impact on various developmental works. These directions, they said, were also in contravention of the High Court orders.
In fact, they said, work on prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaypur can’t be started unless the tribal population is evicted from the land, where the Institute is proposed to be constructed. Similarly, a number of other projects by the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) etc will be hampered at Jammu, Nagrota and other places due to these directions.
The High Court has also issued series of directions, from time to time, to Forests, Jammu Development Authority and various other such agencies to evict encroachments from the Government land.
According to sources, the Government directions were in contravention to the High Court directions as some of the encroachments can’t be removed without evicting the Tribal population. Even, they pointed out, the AIIMS Jammu can’t be constructed without eviction of the tribal population as part of the land selected for the Institute has been occupied by the tribal’s.
Another significant direction, sources said, pertained to bovine smuggling.
“The Tribal Affairs Minister (Choudhary Zulfkar) submitted that the Department is receiving complaints regarding misuse of Section 188 RPC and Animal Cruelty Act against tribal’s as animal rearing is their profession and they are required to transport their animals from one place to another during seasonal migration,” the minutes of the meeting read and said the Chief Minister directed that due care be taken while dealing with such cases.
Senior police officers on the condition of anonymity admitted before the Excelsior that the directions by no less than a person but the Chief Minister not to dislocate or disturb the tribal population will lead to more encroachments and the police as well as JDA and other such departments will be unable to get the existing encroachments evicted notwithstanding the High Court directions to this effect.
“These directions will have serious impact on the working of various departments like Forests, Housing, Urban and Rural Developments, whose land has been encroached upon by the tribal’s,” sources said.
Further, they added, the directions will also impact police check on bovine smuggling, which was going on for the past quite some time.
“Police efforts to curb bovine smuggling will be seriously impacted by the new directions,” they asserted.