By Praveen Dwivedi
Bhopal, Nov 14 (SocialNews.XYZ) With the implementation of the Provisions of the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996 -- to be formally announced by President Droupadi Murmu on the occasion of the second edition of the state government's mega event 'Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas' on Tuesday, Madhya Pradesh would become the seventh state in the country to introduce the Act.
The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to organise Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas to mark the birth anniversary of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda on November 15.
President Murmu will be the Chief Guest of the second edition of this programme which will be held in Shahdol.
Shahdol district has a sizeable number of tribal population.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state shall try to garner support from the tribal community on the plank of the introduction of this act, as the move is set to come just a few months left for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government has already introduced around 20 tribal-centric schemes, especially since it came back to power in 2020 after the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government.
Notably, over one and half dozen tribal specific schemes were announced on the occasion of the first edition of 'Janjatiya Gaurav Divas' in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2021.
One of the key reasons behind such a move to woo the tribal votes in the state as in the last assembly elections in 2018, the BJP had won only 16 seats out of total 47 assembly seats reserved for tribal communities in Madhya Pradesh while the Congress had bagged 30 seats.
To know about the actual condition of some major tribal centric schemes announced by the BJP government in the last one-and-a-half-years, IANS spoke to tribal leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties.
Based on the interactions, the emerged that many of the schemes still remained only on paper due to several reasons including non-availability of funds.
A proposal was also made on renaming some important buildings and places after tribal leaders, including University in Chhindwara, and Habibganj Railway station, which is now known as Rani Kamlapati railway station.
Pankaj Takam, a tribal leader in the ruling BJP, said: "Home delivery of food grains schemes is operational. This scheme has not only given employment to tribal youth but they are getting food grain at their homes. Of course, there are some problems in some areas, especially those located in remote and forest areas, which need to be resolved."
Takam claimed that the process of providing land under the 'van adhikar' scheme has been started in many districts.
Ashok Matkole, a Congress (tribal) MLA, even as agreed that some schemes have been implemented and tribals are getting benefits, however, alleged that more than half of the fund of Rs 26,000 crore which was received from the Centre specifically for tribal centric schemes, was allocated to other schemes.
Matkole further claimed that Van Samiti (forest committees of tribals) were not given rights on Tendu patta scheme.
"Six lakh tribals had applied for land of which 3.5 lakh applications were rejected. CM Chouhan had announced that tribal people will get sand free of cost to build their 'pukka' houses, but it remained just an announcement so far," he said.
Both the BJP and the Congress have been working on their strategies to win maximum tribal seats in the next Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls in 2023.