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Parties junk ‘copycat’ domicile policy draft

Ranchi, July 31: An all-party meeting called by chief minister Hemant Soren today to give final touches to the much-awaited local residents’ or domicile policy trashed the draft as a “copycat” endeavour that would little benefit the targeted people.

A high-level committee headed by Congress leader and finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh has prepared the policy draft.

However, party leaders, including JMM representative Vinod Kumar Pandey, claimed that the provisions spelt out had been blindly lifted from the Chhattisgarh policy.

Nakal mein bhi akal chahiye (even copycats need brains),” decried Ajsu spokesman Deo Sharan Bhagat, adding that the committee, while copying from the Chhattisgarh policy, had forgotten that ground realities in Jharkhand were different.

He argued that Chhattisgarh did not have tenancy laws and reminded that in 2002 too, the Jharkhand government formulated a domicile policy that led to widespread social tension and was ultimately quashed by the high court.

JMM’s core committee secretary Pandey agreed, expressing strong reservation against the definitions of Jharkhandwasi and Moolvasi (Jharkhand natives and original natives) in the draft policy.

“The main motto behind introducing this policy is to ensure that local people got grade III and IV jobs. On the one hand, they are talking about those who have been staying here for three generations and on the other hand, they are speaking about those who were born in Jharkhand or studied here for at least three years. These confusions will again deprive people for whom Jharkhand was formed of their rights,” Pandey said.

RJD state president Girinath Singh added that instead of copying from the Chhattisgarh policy, the government should give hark back to the policy introduced by former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur in 1982.

“If we have adopted almost all the policies and rules introduced by the Bihar government, then what’s wrong with copying this one?” he asked

Trinamul Congress member Bandhu Tirkey, who was a member of the high-level committee formed to formulate this policy, remained conspicuous by his absence at the meeting. Tirkey claimed that he was informed about the meeting barely an hour before it began.

Hum kya koi khatal chalate hain ki jab jo jahan bulayega chale jaenge (Am I running a cattle that I will run and go anywhere whenever I am called)?” he fumed.

Chief minister Hemant Soren, however, took the criticism in his stride, asking the political representatives to submit written proposals within two days.

“I will try my best to ensure that this policy is tabled in the state Assembly during the ensuing monsoon session. Tomorrow’s Jharkhand bandh on this issue is unwarranted,” he added.

He was, however, evasive when asked whether the state was likely to get a full-time chief secretary in near future.

“Getting the government’s work done is more important. It is immaterial whether we are doing with a full-time or a part-time chief secretary,” he added.