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Reserved posts in port vacant for 15 years

By Our Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE, JAN. 30. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs) has said that the New Mangalore Port has not filled the accumulated vacancies in reserved posts for 15 years and it is a serious violation. The panel has convened a meeting of port officials in Bangalore on February 27.

D.J.N. Anand, Director of the commission, who was on a visit to Dakshina Kannada, told presspersons here on Thursday that he had taken note of the grievances of SC/ST employees of the port. More petitions would be heard at the Bangalore meeting.

Asked if the commission was looking into the problems faced by the tribal people in the Kudremukh National Park, especially in the wake of the reports on Naxalite incursions in the area, he said plans for relocating them, with emphasis on their integration with the mainstream, were at a rudimentary stage. They lived under the fear of eviction. The preservation of the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats was vital for the State's economy. If the tribal people had to be relocated, they would be offered an "attractive financial package'' by the Department of Forests, in consultation with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The rehabilitation scheme would be "pro-tribal'', and on a par with or better than those implemented at the Nagarahole and Bhadra reserves.

Mr. Anand said the commission would interact with the Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat to take stock of the progress in the implementation of the SC/ST welfare schemes.

Asked about the allegation that Dakshina Kannada police in general were reluctant to register and investigate cases under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, Mr. Anand said such instances were relatively fewer in the State than those elsewhere in the country. Cases of atrocities against Dalits too were fewer than those reported in States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and even Andhra Pradesh. Instances such as the Kamabalapalli massacre were "daily occurrences" in most northern States. He, however, said the commission would take cognisance of the allegation against the police. Cases would be registered against the guilty officials.

He expressed concern over the lack of a post-matric hostel for girls and the commission would take up the issue with the Government. However, the general upkeep of the hostels and other facilities inspected by him during his surprise visits were good.

Land for farm labourers

The commission has instructed the State governments to allocate land to landless agricultural labourers. If no land is available, it can be made available to them under the land purchase scheme. The State Government has allotted nearly 78,000 acres of land to SC/STs on this recommendation.

A press release by Mr. Anand said the commission had launched awareness programmes. Among the measures contemplated by it included the setting up a toll-free number and helpline so that grievances are registered without delay. The commission was considering the introduction of a multi-entitlement card which would have an account of their health record. Initiatives were being made to find out ways to implement reservation in private sector.

Mr. Anand said SC/STs could sent their grievances against the administration in a postcard. It would be treated as a petition. They could also e-mail their grievances to nscstblr@kar.nic.in.

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