State declares sops for Dhangars ahead of polls

Schemes of tribal dept to be applicable to Dhangars.

Mumbai: Ahead of Lok Sabha (LS) polls, the state government has announced a variety of sops to appease the Dhangar community, which has been demanding a Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. As a part of it, the Dhangar community will be given all the schemes applicable to the tribal department along with separate financial provisions.

A cabinet sub-committee, headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, discussed various demands of Dhangar community in view of the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) report.

“It was decided to hand over the TISS report to Advocate General for further consultation and to consider the future course of action on the Dhangar reservation issue and also for recommendation to the Centre and for the proper representation of the case before the high court, said Mr Fadnavis.

“Till the Dhangar community gets the ST status, all schemes of tribal department will be made applicable to Dhangars with separate financial provisions. Government Ashram Shalas will also be constructed in the vulnerable areas identified by TISS. In addition to this, dedicated hostels will be constructed for Dhangars and schemes for the admission to tribals in renowned schools will also be made applicable to the community,” he added.

The CM also announced that Ahilyabai Holkar Mahamandal will be strengthened and will expand its scope for skill training and self-financing to youth from the Dhangar community.

Furthermore, 10,000 houses will be constructed for the Dhangar community.

He said that ‘Swayam’ like scheme would be launched for the Dhangar community and benefits of pre and post matriculation scholarship will also be given to them.

However, opposition leaders have raised doubts over the assurances given to the Dhangar community by the state. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)'s Dhananjay Munde said, "The TISS report on the Dhangar reservation has been gathering the dust for last one and half years and the budget was just announced. Then why didn't the government make the provision for the community in the budget itself?" The community’s ire for not getting the status was likely to harm the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the LS polls. Hence on the lines of the Maratha community, the state decided to provide additional benefits to Dhangars.

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