Save tribals to save forests and animals, said Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, kicking off a two-day festival to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, along with Rajya Sabha member and JMM supremo Shibu Soren here on Tuesday.
An array of programmes showcasing tribal art, culture, tradition and literature are lined up for the festival at Morabadi ground, besides panel discussions, seminars and fashion shows.
Speaking at the inaugural function, the chief minister said, “For tribals, their land, culture and language determine their identity. The new definition of ‘development’, which involves cutting down of forests to set up buildings and factories often threatens their existence.
“It’s time we show them respect, cooperate with them. If we protect tribals and their interests, forests and amimals will be saved too,” he insisted. Soren also said that his government had been working tirelessly to “uplift” them.
“Getting a bank loan is a big challenge for tribals. Even when Hemant Soren goes to a bank for loans, he faces difficulties; he will be told his land comes under CNT (Chota Nagpur Tenancy) or SPT (Santhal Pargana Tenancy) Acts. We are trying to find a way so that tribals get to avail loans easily,” the chief minister asserted.
The JMM executive president, on the occasion, also said that a horde of schemes had been launched by his government to uplift the tribal population of the state.
“We have floated the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Overseas Scholarship scheme in a bid to send tribal students abroad for higher studies. A Guruji Credit Card scheme will be launched soon for students willing to take loans to pursue education. Besides, work on setting up a tribal university is underway,” he stated.
The CM announced that a tribal festival would henceforth be organised every year on August 9. “We demand the Centre declare August 9 as public holiday,” he said.
The JMM founder, who was present at the event, gave assurance that the festival would be a grander affair next year.“Until all social forces work to increase the prestige of a society, we cannot talk about development. Such festivals will help in this regard,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)