By F. M. Britto
Raipur, August 10, 2019: The tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh state granted first time public government holiday on Aug 9 to celebrate the World Tribal Day.
Greeting the tribal people on the occasion, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said in his message, “We will honor and guard the people who protect the Jal (water), jungle, and the jameen (land).”
Reiterating its electoral promise to give the rights and respect to the tribals, the Congress government said it has returned 4,200 acres of land to the tribals in Lohandigura village in Bastar district. In a major relief to tribals falsely implicated in criminal cases, the government has set up a committee headed by a retired judge to return the cases.
For the tribals who eke out a living by collecting the tendupatta (beedi leaves), government now pays 4,000 rupees per bag, the highest wage in the country. This was also promised in the election manifesto, said the government.
The government also has reiterated its promise to build a tribal museum in the predominant tribal Bastar region. A review will be made to the previous BJP government’s cancellation of the forest-rights, said the government website.
It also has promised to provide two kilo jaggery along with gram every month to tribal families. A development authority would be formed for the formation of the Indrāvati River in Bastar.
The state is well known for its tribal art, festivals, dance, and handicrafts made out of bamboos, wood and terracotta.
Although the central Indian state is rich with minerals and called the ‘rice bowl,’ many tribals live in primitive state. But over the years, both the Congress and the BJP governments and the Church have developed them.
Most Catholics in the five dioceses of the state are tribal, headed by three local tribal bishops, assisted by many tribal church personnel. Besides various socio-economic developmental programs, the Church is developing them through education, due to which many tribals have come to occupy key government posts in the state.
Cancelling public holiday on the Hindu Nag panchami feast (Aug 5), the Baghel government granted first time public holiday on the local Hareli festival (Aug 1), besides the adivasi divas (Tribal day).