The Congress and the BJP members on Friday staged a walkout from the Assembly expressing dissatisfaction over the reply given by Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Minister Lalbihari Himirika on steps taken by the State Government for welfare of tribals and Dalits.
Participating in a discussion on an adjournment motion on the issue, the Congress members alleged that the State
Government has failed to take any steps for uplift of tribals and Dalits despite sufficient funds provided by the Centre.
Alleging that atrocities on them have also increased, the Congress members said no step has been taken to instil confidence among the suppressed classes.
Criticising the State Government for ‘neglecting’ the SC/STs, they alleged that no step has been taken to amend the Odisha Reservation of Vacancies Act despite repeated demands.
Chakradhar Paik (Cong) alleged that though funds are being provided by the Centre for development of SC/STs, these are being utilised in urban areas. He alleged that education of SC/ST students is also being neglected. As there are not many high schools in the scheduled areas for SC/ST students, many tribal students have been failing to take admission, he said and demanded that more high schools be opened for SC/STs in scheduled and remote areas. Besides, Plus Two colleges should also be opened in each tribal block of scheduled areas. Paik also alleged that tribal youths are being made sacrificial goats as they are recruited as special police officers (SPOs) to fight the Maoists. His party colleague Prafulla Majhi echoed the same feeling.
Replying to the discussion, the minister said steps are being taken to provide minimum requirement for students in the schools. He said Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for construction of toilet complex, dining hall, additional classrooms, staff quarters and pipe water supply for the schools.