SRINAGAR: Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary conducted a 3-day extensive tour of tribal areas in Tulel, Baktoor, Gurez and also highland habitations of migratory tribal population for firsthand assessment of issues faced by the tribes.
The flagship schemes being launched this year by the tribal affairs department including Village Development Scheme, Education, Migratory tribal development, MFP scheme, Art & Culture, Livelihood initiatives and infrastructure development were shared for wider outreach and participation.
In view of the ongoing planning process for holistic tribal welfare measures public feedback was obtained at various places including Tulel, Sheikhpora, Kashpet, Barnai, Achhoora, Dawar and Kanzalwan. Interaction was also held with migratory tribal population of Rajouri and Poonch camping in highland pastures at Khoragbal, Chhamkassi, Gassai, Dai Nallah, Yurgussi , Badrah and razdan.
Public interactions were held at several locations which included local residents, students, youth groups, women apart from members of District Development Council, Block Development Councils and local NGIs. Local sports groups and teams also held meetings with the Secretary seeking special focus on opportunities for youth aiming to pick sports as a career.
Dr Shahid discussed with representatives of local tribal communities of Dard-Shina about steps being taken for preservation of tribal culture, providing support for education and livelihood, basic infrastructure development and evolving towards the process of integrated tribal development. Locals raised the demands related to development of tourist villages, establishment of public libraries, hostel for Gurez students in Srinagar, sports facilities, awareness about government schemes, and some major infrastructure development initiatives.
The local representatives were informed about serious efforts being made by the government for focused development of tribal areas and key interventions being initiated this year in education, health and infrastructure sectors apart from special focus on youth and skill development. They were assured of immediate steps to be taken by the tribal affairs department for various issues of public importance raised and also extension of flagship schemes of tribal ministry to all uncovered areas. Convergence planning and community participation contours of tribal development were also discussed.
At the transhumant settlements of migratory tribal Gujjar and Bakkerwal population of Rajouri and Poonch feedback was obtained about issues faced during migration and camping sites. Vulnerability to natural disasters and lack of proper facilities were among major concerns highlighted apart from issues related to healthcare and education.
The Tribal Affairs Department is at advance stage of resource planning and long term 20-years perspective plan for tribal development which includes focused support for migratory tribal population as well as tribal village development. The schemes are being launched in a phased manner during current financial year.
The representatives from migratory tribal hamlets were informed about schemes on anvil including transit facilities, migration support, livelihood projects, health and veterinary services apart from new initiatives in education. Feedback was also obtained about the resource-planning socio-economic survey of nomadic tribes, a first-time exercise aimed at long term perspective planning for migratory tribal welfare.