Amid reservations by the Bharatiya Janata Party to the proposed tribal policy, the government on Tuesday constituted a five-member cabinet sub-committee to examine the policy that safeguards the rights of nomadic tribes living in the state.
A source told Greater Kashmir that a few ministers of the BJP expressed reservations over the policy when it was put before the cabinet for its approval on December 21.
"The BJP ministers objected to the policy on the excuse that it will wreak havoc on forests in the state. They also opposed the provision that seeks regularisation of settlements of these communities on state land," the source said, adding that ministers Chandra Prakash Ganga, Bali Baghat and Lal Singh vehemently opposed it.
However, PDP minister Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, who heads the tribal affairs ministry, countered the BJP ministers by pointing out that the government of India is already working on formulating the tribal policy to protect the rights of these communities.
"On one hand, you want extension of central policies and laws in the state. Now if the central government has already prepared its draft tribal policy, why should you object to implementation of the tribal policy in the state?" Zulfikar, according to the source, asked the BJP ministers.
Following the arguments, the cabinet decided to constitute the CSC to examine the policy.
The general administration department on Tuesday ordered constitution of the panel headed by deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh to examine the policy and make recommendations thereof for submission to the cabinet.
Minister for revenue Abdur Rehman Veeri, minister for rural development Abdul Haq Khan, minister for forests Lal Singh and minister for CAPD and tribal affairs Choudhary Zulfikar Ali are members of the committee, the order read.
The policy seeks a multi-pronged approach for the all-round development of tribal communities without disturbing their culture and identity. It also recognises their rights over forests and opposes their forcible displacement.