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Since 1st March, 1999
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Action ‘not’ taken report
- ‘Unhappy’, governor returns SC/ST file to govt
Kool Bahadur Rai (top), who joined the Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling as a maali (gardener) in 1950 and retired as its head 50 years later, will officially become a part of its lore.
Invites issued by the governor’s house and its publications would bear his portrait.
Rai used to sweep a patch of the garden for a princely Re 1 a month when he joined.
“I learnt my art from Padmaja Naidu,” he said.

Calcutta, March 4: The governor has returned to the government a report on action taken to speed up court cases involving atrocities on scheduled castes and tribes and reduce the number of school dropouts among them.

“We are reworking the action-taken report after the governor raised certain questions about it,” backward classes minister Jogesh Barman said at Writers’ Buildings.

The principal secretary of his department, Jaya Dasgupta, said the report was prepared on the basis of the action taken to implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. “But the governor wasn’t happy with it.”

A Raj Bhavan official said Gopal Krishna Gandhi was unhappy with the government’s “lukewarm response” to the recommendation to expedite investigation into atrocities on backward caste people. “The governor wants the government to be more proactive.”

According to the report, the police had managed to complete investigation into only one of the 22 cases filed by SC/ST victims in 2004.

The only completed inquiry led to the conviction of a rape accused in Murshidabad.

Probe into 24 cases out of the 25 filed in 2005 is pending. None of the 26 filed in 2006 has been wrapped up.

Asked about the delay, a home department official blamed “the police in the districts”. They “are too pre-occupied with law and order”.

The report is to be tabled during the Assembly’s budget session, beginning March 8. The Centre has asked all state governments to reveal to the Assembly what they had done on the recommendations of the SC/ST commission.

The governor also expressed concern over the rise in dropouts of SC/ST students from primary schools.

An education department official said irregularities in the distribution of mid-day meals and the meagre grant given to backward class students for attending school were primarily responsible for the high dropout rate. The grant — Rs 330 a month — that some 20 lakh SC/ST primary students are entitled to is not given during vacations.

An official in the backward classes department said they are working overtime to collect details from three key departments — home, education and panchayat — to redo the report. “We are also contacting district officials for more details,” he added.

A home department official said: “We’ve asked all district magistrates and police chiefs to deal with cases concerning atrocities against backward people on a war footing.”

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