The Gujarat government on Wednesday said that a five-member commission will be formed to identify the members of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities, living in nesses (tiny, oval-shaped hutments made of mud) of Gir, Barda and Alech areas of the state, who are eligible to get the benefits of Schedule Tribe (ST) status.
The commission, which will be headed by a retired judge of the high court, comprises two district judges, one retired forest officer and one retired revenue officer.
The central government had, through a notification dated October 29, 1956, conferred ST status on people from Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities living in the nesses of Gir, Barda and Alech in the state.
However, many tribal community leaders have been protesting for quite some time alleging that a number of people who do not live in nesses have managed to get ST certificates and are enjoying undue reservation benefits, mainly in government jobs. Leaders of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities have also held counter protests.
To resolve this issue and decide the legitimate beneficiaries of ST status among the members of the three communities, the commission has been formed. The decision was taken in the state Cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Tribal Development Minister Ganpat Vasava made the decision public while saying that the commission was formed after three senior ministers of the Cabinet held a meeting with representatives from the tribal community and from Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities.
Vasava said that while considering various representations, the state Cabinet has decided to form this commission to ensure that the tribals who are eligible for the benefits are not devoid of their right and the others do not get undue benefit.
He said that representatives of both the parties had given their consent for the formation of the panel.
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