Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday held separate discussions with representatives of Tai-Ahom and Matak communities on their demand for being accorded the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, according to an official statement.

Sarma asked Tai-Ahom leaders to hold talks with the All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS), the apex tribal body of the state, in connection with their demand.

The AATS is authorised by the government to recommend issuance of ST certificates in the state.

On the demand for ST status by the Matak community, Sarma informed them that the state government has agreed in principle to recommend to the Centre its inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes, the statement said.

Besides Tai-Ahom and Matak, tea tribes (Adivasis), Koch-Rajbonshi, Moran and Chutia communities have also been demanding ST status.

Representatives of Moran and Chutia communities had met the chief minister at separate meetings on Saturday.

At the meeting with Tai-Ahom organisations, Sarma urged them to sit together with AATS members to sort out issues for moving forward’, according to the statement.

It, however, did not mention the issues that need to be sorted out.

The chief minister said Tai-Ahoms will be accorded protected class status in tribal blocks and belts of the state, while a Tai Language Teaching Centre would be set up by the state government to popularise it, and a statue of his will be built at the state secretariat Janata Bhawan in Guwahati.

The ‘Sukapha Samannay Kshetra’, a memorial built at Jorhat in the memory of Sukapha, the first Ahom king who ruled Assam in the 13th century, would be turned into a top tourist attraction, the CM said.

He said Rs 125 crore committed to Tai Ahom Development Council would be released by November 30.

The chief minister also said all indigenous communities of Assam must remain united so that Assam can be protected from infiltrators.

At the meeting with representatives of the Matak community, Sarma said the Sodou Asom Matak Sanmilan will be made the sole body for granting OBC certificates to its members.

A Committee of Ministers of various departments will be set up to fix the quantum of reservation of Matak community in educational institutes and all land-related issues of the community will also be resolved in a time bound and transparent manner, he added.

Sarma also said Rs 25 crore committed to the Matak Development Council will be released by November 30.

He gave assurance of providing land for construction of a Matak Bhawan at Guwahati, preserving the monuments and historical sites of the community.

Minister for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes Ranuj Pegu was present in the meetings.

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