Tribals plan hunger strike for restoration of kerosene quota

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 22, 2013 14:40 hrs

Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Feb 22 (IANS) Upset by the "discriminatory attitude" of the state government in kerosene allocation, thousands of tribals are set to launch a hunger strike at the collectorate here March 1 onwards, an activist said Friday.

The tribal rights advocacy groups, who alleged that the state government's decision was "a tip of the iceberg in a massive fuel supply scam," also plan to move the Bombay High Court for relief in the matter.

According to Tukaram Meshram, president of the Centre for Protection of Tribal Rights, last year, the state government drastically reduced the quota of kerosene supplied in the tribal and forested regions of Yavatmal, while hiking supplies in Mumbai and Pune.

Meshram said that a detailed memorandum on the issue of a steep 60 percent reduction in the kerosene quota for the tribal population has already been submitted to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

However, a year since the decision to cut the kerosene quota in the tribal regions and despite all their protests, nothing has been done. That is why the tribals will go on a hunger strike to press their demands, Meshram said.

Tribals from Washim, Chandrapur and Yavatmal districts would take part in the agitation, which will be held at Yavatmal, he said.

"The entire move is strange. The government knows fully well that Yavatmal does not have the facility of Liquefied Petroleum Gas or piped gas connections like Mumbai, Thane or Pune. Yet, it has gone ahead with this move," an angry Kishore Tiwari, chief of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, said.

Tiwari said that though LPG cylinders are available, they are priced exorbitantly, beyond the reach of the tribals. In the absence of kerosene, tribal people are forced to seek firewood, and that could cause ecological concerns, Tiwari said.

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