Chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb with community leaders on June 20 at Agartala Credit: File Image

Agartala: The Tribal Welfare Department has issued a notification, inviting applications for an honorarium to the ‘Samajpatis’ or indigenous community leaders of Tripura.

Earlier on June 20, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb had announced to provide honorarium allowances to the ‘Samajpatis’ across the state.

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The move comes just ahead of the election in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) and it is seen as part of a pre-poll ploy by the ruling BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) government.

“In recognition of the contribution of the ‘Samajpatis’ of the various tribal communities in the development of the tribal community and the overall development of the state, the government of Tripura has decided to provide honorarium allowances to the heads the tribal communities”, notification issued by LT Darlong, director of the Tribal welfare department reads.

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The notification also cited that under the scheme, the Samajpatis of various tribal communities in the state who wish to receive an honorarium, are requested to submit their application in the prescribed form by November 23 next at the office of the Chief of Tribal Welfare in Agartala.

The details including the name of community leaders, father’s name, birth details, address, bank details, date of holding position, tenure of a position of Pradhan Samajpati needs to be disclosed before the department.

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During a meeting with the indigenous leaders on June 20, the leaders of the indigenous had placed the demand of monthly honorarium to which the chief minister agreed. He had announced financial assistance of Rs 2,000 to all the community heads.

Earlier, the BJP-IPFT government after coming to power increased the social pension scheme from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 per month benefitting close to 4 lakh beneficiaries across the state.

Reacting to the issue, former MP and senior CPIM leader Jitendra Choudhury said that the government should ensure that the community leaders are elected properly and from all levels and not just senior leaders.

“The government should not pick and choose people just ahead of TTAADC elections. In the name of community leaders, a section of people who have not done anything for their community would be provided the public money. This is a complete misuse of power by the incumbent state government. This is a part of a pre-poll trick”, Choudhury said.

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