Chief minister Hemant Soren unveils a plaque in Harmu on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
Chief minister Hemant Soren paved the way for building a boundary wall around a 3-acre plot in the heart of the capital for exclusive use of tribals belonging to the Sarna faith.
Patron of Sarna Samiti, Harmu, Vidyasagar Kerketta welcomed the move, saying Wednesday’s function to lay the foundation stone of a 1,390 feet boundary wall was the result of a two-decade-long campaign to safeguard ancestral tribal land used for religious purposes.
“Our forefathers have been struggling for the protection of religious land,” said Kerketta.
“As a consequence of rapid urbanisation, tribal land became a soft target of developers. We faced a lot of trouble when Jharkhand State Housing Board passed on portions of the land to builders for construction of houses on PPP mode, ignoring our sentiments associated with the land. But now, everything is okay,” he explained.
The state has sanctioned Rs 24.50 lakh for the construction of the boundary wall and work is likely to be completed within two months under the supervision of district engineer S. D. Singh.
The wall will be 6 feet high and 10 inches wide. There will be a 20-feet wide gate at the site, which is barely 10 metres from Sahajanand Chowk.
The function was held in the presence of hundreds of local tribals, besides state welfare minister Champai Soren, Hatia MLA Naveen Jaiswal, ward 29 counsellor Pradeep Agrawal, deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey and senior superintendent of police Prabhat Kumar.
Hemant justified the state’s decision, saying water, forests and land are considered holy by tribals. “The government is serious about its protection. This move will prove to be a milestone in the ongoing efforts at protecting tribal culture and identity,” he said.
Harmu locality Sarna leader Doman Pahan performed a ritual with the help of Sarna Samity president Anil Tigga and secretary Ravi Tigga.
Later, the chief minister went around the site, which is in the heart of the city. On the northern end is the St Kuldeep High School, while the Harmu bypass is on the southern side.
There are a few Jharkhand State Housing Board quarters to the west.