Ambitious Tribal Research Institute projects shelved in J&K

The government has shelved the Tribal Research Institute (TRI) projects as Rs 480 crore remained unspent.

A senior officer in the civil secretariat told Greater Kashmir that the project was started to preserve and promote tribal cultures.

“The government had announced to establish its own Tribal Research Institute within a span of a year, but there is no fund management and no headway on spending the Rs 480 crore released by Government of India (GoI) for establishing the art centre in J&K,” he said.

The official said that in early 2019, it was decided that the research institute would be established by the next fiscal.

“However, till now nothing has come up and there is no progress on the project,” he said.

The Tribal Research Institute was scheduled to come up at Khimber in Srinagar while a centre of excellence that would have focused on studying and promoting tribal practices and their art, culture and languages was to be set up in Jammu.

The government had underlined the need for preserving cultural practices and languages to keep alive the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous people and the traditional wisdom that dates back several generations.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation Founder Secretary, Javid Rahi said that there was a greater need to revamp the Tribal Affairs department.

“It is sad to see the projects in the Tribal Affairs sector undone and unfinished. There is non-seriousness at the helm of affairs,” Rahi alleged. “A lot is being spoken about the welfare, but on the ground the situation is altogether different for the welfare of tribals.”

He said the tribal population was getting a notion that the government was ignoring the tribal welfare in J&K.

He said his foundation had written to Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha for revamping the Tribal Affairs department across J&K.

Director, Department of Tribal Affairs, Saleem Malik said TRI building in Srinagar was under construction and 90 percent work was already completed.

He said the department was awaiting further funds from the GoI.

Secretary, Department of Tribal Affairs, Rehana Batul told Greater Kashmir that she was new to the department and trying to understand the several bottlenecks blocking certain ambitious projects.

She admitted that several projects in the tribal affairs have not taken off.

Former Secretary Cooperative and Tribal Affairs, Abdul Majid Bhat said that the government was taking collective, conscious and concerted efforts to preserve tribal cultures of J&K.

“TRIs will have a greater role in making policies for tribals of J&K,” he said. “The aim of the government is to give more autonomy to the tribals.”

GoI had provided additional funds to streamline the pattern and establishment of TRI in J&K.

The Union Tribal Ministry had initiated to set up a national-level apex body to coordinate activities of TRIs across the country to train manpower, share best practices and disseminate information.

Under this process, some of the TRIs across India would be selected to promote them as top research centres and to coordinate the work of TRIs in the region.