Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said the government would pursue the grant of Scheduled Tribe status to Pahari speaking people by the Centre with all seriousness even as she vouched for social and economic empowerment of the community.
Chairing a meeting of J&K State Advisory Board for Development of Pahari People, she said the government has already submitted a proposal to the Centre which reasons out the need for granting ST status to the Pahari community.
Mehbooba assured the community members that her government would also convey their concerns to the Centre in this regard.
The Chief Minister said the government would make efforts to put the development of Pahari community into focus.
She said more hostels for the girls and hospitals and schools in the areas where the community lives would be constructed.
She asked the Education Department to undertake coaching of students in schools in Pahari areas for various competitive examinations.
Mehbooba said it is the "agenda" of her government to develop all backward areas in the state and make the community at par with other socially and economically empowered communities.
The Chief Minister directed constitution of a committee by the Vice Chairman of the Board to look into the conditions of the boys and girls hostels of the community set up in various areas of the state.
She directed the committee to come up with a status report about these hostels and suggest measures about their proper maintenance and upkeep.
Mehbooba also directed construction of a Sarai at Kupwara for providing temporary shelter to members of the Pahari community.
She said sufficient funds would be earmarked for undertaking welfare programmes and schemes for the community.