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Tribal groups meet Pegu

Kokrajhar, Feb. 17: A delegation of tribal organisations today met Assam minister for welfare of plains tribes and backward classes Rajib Lochan Pegu on non-promotion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates in state government departments.

The organisations, led by All Assam Tribal Sangha, alleged that the SC and ST employees were deprived of promotions despite meeting the eligibility criteria. They demanded implementation of the Assam SC & ST (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Post) (Amendment) Act, 2012. They had given a 12-hour statewide strike call for today to protest Dispur’s anti-reservation policy but withdrew it on Saturday after the government invited them for talks.

During the talks, Pegu assured the 25-member delegation that his department would circulate an office memorandum to all state government departments to follow the act. He also agreed to issue instructions to all the departments not to process any promotion till the final judgment of PIL No. 2/2011 comes up.

The Tribal Sangha had filed the PIL in January 2011 against deprivation of tribal employees on promotion. The court had directed the WPT&BC department to probe the matter, which constituted a commission in August 2012 for the purpose.

The Tribal Sangh alleged that the commission was supposed to file its report last year but had not done so yet. Its general secretary Aditya Khakhlari, however, said today that the minister had assured them that the one-man Harish Sonowal Commission would submit its report on Wednesday.

Senior government officials of WPT&BC department, including commissioner & secretary Biswaranjan Samal, director R.K. Bargohain and deputy secretary Binita Pegu were present in the meeting.

The delegates represented the Tribal Sangha, All Assam Tribal Youth League, All Assam Scheduled Caste Students’ Union, Assam Anuchita Jati Yuva-Chatra Santha, Karbi Students’ Union, Takam Mising Porin Kebang, Assam Anuchita Jati Parishad, All Tiwa Students’ Union and the All Assam Sarania Kachari Students’ Union.

The organisations have alleged violation of the legislation by the PWD, public health engineering, irrigation, sericulture, water resources and agriculture departments, among others.

Khakhlari alleged that the PWD had promoted 27 assistant executive engineers to executive engineers in violation of reservation rules.

“Though 17 posts were reserved for SC and ST employees, the department de-reserved them and promoted other employees. Of the 17 posts, nine were reserved for ST (plains), five for ST (hills) and three for general SC candidates,” he alleged.