Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has requested the Union Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo to call a meeting of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and the Registrar General of India to resolve the long pending demand of the Konda Reddy community living in Malkangiri district for Scheduled Tribe (ST).
Recalling the meeting of the Adivasi Sangha which was attended by him along with Deo at Narla in Kalahandi district on March 3, Jairam said in a letter, “We had received petitions from some communities which claim to be adivasis but have not been included under the ST category.”
One such community is Konda Reddy/Konda Reddi in Malkangiri district, Jairam said and added that they met him and gave a petition again.
“As I understand, South Odisha was part of the erstwhile Madras Presidency,” the Rural Development Minister said adding that at that time the Konda Reddy community was recognised as a tribal community. Later, South Odisha districts (undivided Koraput and Ganjam) became part of Odisha.
While in Andhra Pradesh, the Konda Reddy community was recognised as ST, the same status was not accorded to the community across river Sileru in Malkangiri district in Odisha, Jairam said.
Artificial political boundaries have resulted in a gross injustice to the community, he added.
Stating that these villages in Malkangiri are remote and under-developed, the Union Minister said Maoists have taken advantage of these problems and built a strong base in the area.
“We have to address this problem at the earliest,” he said and added that there are similar communities in other places as well.
The claims of such communities which are ST in one State and non-ST in the neighbouring State look genuine, he said and added that their claims should be examined separately and not along with the general claims of other communities for ST status.