Union Minister for Tribal Welfare V. Kishore Chandra Deo asked the State government to expedite the process of including Girijan villages located outside Scheduled areas of the State under Schedule V of the Constitution.

A letter to this effect was sent recently to the State Government. A copy of the letter was sent to the V Schedule Saadhana Committee’ State convenor P.S. Ajay Kumar and the Girijans living in the 805 villages, most of them located in north coastal Andhra and Adilabad are hopeful that the State Government would act this time at least and assured the benefits the Girijans of the villages missing since 1976, district convenor of the Saadhana Samiti Bonda Demudu said.

Though they are Girijans the poor people living in the villages are not getting the benefits their counterparts living in the Scheduled area villages are enjoying. While this is the plight of Girijans living in AP, Girijans living in non-Scheduled areas in some other States have been included in the Scheduled areas as their respective governments were quick to take up the matter with the Centre.

The sad story of neglect in AP is that the then State Government identified in 1976 itself 805 villages spread over nine districts in the State that should be brought under the V Schedule but there was no response from the Centre and the State Government did not pursue the issue. When the Girijans started agitations under the banner of Saadhana Committee the Centre woke up and sought a resolution again from the State Cabinet. It was six years ago and AP Government is yet to act, said Mr. Ajay Kumar while explaining to The Hindu the apathy of both the State and Central Governments about the issue. The issue is being dragged on by resorting to making studies like whether the population of the villages has increased or not.

The Koneru Ranga Rao Committee has recommended that villages having more than 50 per cent Girijan population be declared as tribal villages and brought under the V Schedule. The State Government accepted the recommendation but is yet to take a final decision.

The Saadhana Committee met Mr. Deo on June 28 at Delhi and sought his help in bringing the 805 villages under the V Schedule. It has earlier represented the matter to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who also wrote to the Government to solve the issue immediately. The Saadhana Committee is hopeful that the process will start without delay.