The Jharkhand government on Friday launched a fresh drive to identify activists who were part of the statehood movement. The initiative was announced at a program in Project Building in Ranchi. Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Rajya Sabha MP and JMM supremo Shibu Soren and several officials were present on the occasion.
Shibu Soren, a key figure in the movement, released a logo of 'Andolankari Chinhitikaran Aayog' and an amended application form in a bid to cover a large number of such activists under a government scheme. Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000. The commission for identification of activists who participated in the statehood movement was constituted in 2012 but it remained defunct for several years. The body has been revived and has started functioning with full force for more than a year, said its chairman Durga Oraon.
Speaking on the occasion, the CM said, "The application form has been simplified. Now, not a single activist who was part of the 'separate Jharkhand movement' will be deprived of benefits that the government has provisioned." The state government provides a pension of Rs 3,500 per month to those who had spent less than three months in prison or to the dependents of the activists, who died in jail. The monthly pension amount is Rs 5,000 for those who spent three to six months in jail and the same is Rs 7,000 for those who were in prison for more than six months.
"We have also provisioned for several other benefits in the government jobs for dependents of the activists," the CM said. Soren stated that he came to know merely 2,000-2,200 people are getting benefits. "I found that complexities in the application form are keeping the activists away from applying for their dues. So, the form was simplified in a bid to encourage more people who took part in the movement to avail of the benefits," the CM said.
The activists who were present at the function created a ruckus during the speech of Shibu Soren, alleging that the commission was not providing benefit to actual statehood movement activists. "We have information that many non-activists are availing of the benefits. But, these irregularities are being rectified," Shibu Soren, the former CM, said. They also demanded the inclusion of those who were active in the movement but did not go to jail under the welfare program. The CM said the program will be implemented in a phased-manner and genuine ones will be included in it.