I am against liquor since decades: Nand Kumar Sai

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Mar 2017 11:03:54

Staff Reporter,


Mar 19,

Despite steps have been initiated by the State Government here in Chhattisgarh towards complete liquor ban, it is facing severe opposition from both opposition parties as well as from various sections of people. Under this situation, the State Government should initiate dialogue with those opposing its policies and explain its stand and future strategy. These views were observed by Nandkumar Sai, Chairman, National Scheduled Tribes Commission during interaction with media-persons.

Asserting that he is against consumption of liquor and while spear-heading anti-liquor campaign during 1970s he had stopped consumption of salt and till date he follows it. He had stopped consumption of salt then so as to create an example for others that if he can stop consumption of salt then stopping consumption of liquor is easy in comparison. He stated that during those days due to his anti-liquor drive, over 1,000 false cases had been lodged against him and had he been not elected as MLA at that time, he would have been in serious trouble.

He had then initiated the drive because he was very much upset with the habit of drinking among Tribals.
Addressing a Meet the Press programme at Raipur Press Club, Nandkumar Sai said there are lots of problems being faced by tribal all over the country but he wants to work for the redressal of these problems and prove his appointment to the post meaningful. He said everyday one or the other incident is being reported against tribals from different parts of the country.

Terming Bastar as one of 10 most non-peaceful areas of the world, he said if not anything, at least the lives and properties of innocent tribals should be protected. Citing examples of Surguja, Sai said when he was Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Assembly, there was similar situation there. He held continuous meetings with police and forest departments and urged them not to harm the poor tribals instead try to win their trust. This led to end of Naxal menace in Surguja. Similar drive can be taken in Bastar, then only peace will return. He said the Maoists are using poor tribals as their shields in fight against the security forces. Hence police should chalk out a strategy and avoid doing things which would create mistrust among tribal population.

Answering a query on 26 tribal categories not getting the government facilities only due to spelling mistakes of their tribe names, Sai said he has asked the community people to provide him with the list of such tribes, he will try to rectify the mistakes by holding talks with both state and central government. He also stated that there is huge discrepancy in the distribution of forest rights certificates in different states. During his tenure, he will try to rectify all such discrepancies. Sai called upon the government to give thrust on the primary education of tribals so that these people can enjoy the benefits of schemes floated by state and central government. Due to lack of education, neither the tribal can enjoy the facility nor can governments properly implement the same.

He said the provisions of Fifth and Sixth Schedule should be brought into compliance in true letter and spirit. Answering another query, Sai said Adivasi is the true Hindu. It is only the Adivasi who worships ‘Bhumi, Akash, Vayu, Agni and Neer’ which is even mentioned in Rig Veda. He said Adivasis are Hindus and they will remain the same.
So far as Tribal Chief Minister is concerned, Nandkumar Sai reiterated his stand that a leader should be from the community which is in majority in any state. However, being in a political party, every thing is fixed by party high command.

Speaking on displacement of tribals in Chhattisgarh and other neighbouring states due to construction of Polavaram Dam, Sai said due to constructions of such dams, large number of people particularly tribals are displaced and they go into oblivion due to lack of proper rehabilitation. He said while constructing such projects, government should try to avoid huge displacement and make sure that less number of people get affected and those displaced should be rehabilitated.