Minister in spot of bother as report on benefits to tribals contradicts realities

Minister in spot of bother as report on benefits to tribals contradicts realities

Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya faced an embarrassing moment on Saturday when his tall claims of benefits extended to tribals fell flat in a report compiled by his own department.

At a press conference, Anjaneya announced he would spend New Year's Eve at the Iruliga tribal colony at Jenukallupalya in Magadi, Ramanagaram. "In the past four years, I have spent one night with tribal communities in different parts of the state. During my visits, I made several promises to them, of which 90% have been fulfilled," Anjaneya said.

However, a report compiled by his department showed most assurances the minister made during his tribal stayovers were still works-in-progress. For instance, Anjaneya claimed that Goudalu and Hasala communities in the Dhannakkihaara Girijan colony in Mudigere, Chikkamagaluru, received nutritious meals after he spent an entire day with them in April 2015. On the contrary, his department's report stated that only a work order had been issued for the supply of nutritious meals and that a survey of both communities was underway.

Assurances Anjaneya made on his first stayover three years ago - Gombegalu Girijan Colony in Kollegal, Chamarajanagar in December 2014 - were "still in progress," according to the report. These are works worth Rs 10 crore that include construction of new houses, house repairs, distribution of blankets among others.

Anjaneya was visibly upset when reporters pointed out the glaring contradiction in his claims and the report. "Who wrote this report," he demanded to know from his officials, who scurried for cover. "I should've seen the report before. How do you explain this?"

Since 2014, Anjaneya has visited tribals in eight districts and Rs 109 crore has been released for various works.

Internal reservation

Anjaneya was mum when asked about the implementation of the Justice A J Sadashiva Commission report on internal reservation. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has convened a meeting of Dalit leaders in the Congress on January 13, he said. "There are groups for and against implementing the report. The CM will take the final call," he said.

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