Raipur, May 22 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has coined a new term to counter the ‘Pathargarhi’ campaign by tribal people over lack of development in their areas: Vikasgarhi’.

” Vikasgarhi’ (development)”, says the chief minister, can truly empower the tribal people as well as the state.

Singh, who is on a state-wide tour ahead of the assembly polls to showcase the progress made during his 15 years in power, said he was not against the Pathargarhi’ movement — which restricts outsiders from entering tribal villages — provided it does not challenge the country’s constitution.

Chhattisgarh goes to poll later this year.

We are not against Pathargarhi, but against those who are trying to create divisions in the society in the name of the movement, Singh told PTI. If an issue has to be highlighted, it should be done within the parametres of the Constitution. Stressing that people were understanding the significance of development, Singh said his government has worked tirelessly for the betterment and uplift of tribal people. “Vikasgarhi not Pathargarhi can empower the people,” he said.

‘Pathargarhi’ is a social and cultural practice of lining rocks from the village graveyard/crematorium to its boundary with messages inscribed on them announcing that outsiders are not allowed in, if their presence could potentially distrub the peace in the village.

The pathargarhi’ movement began last year in Jharkhand’s Khunti district and gradually made its way into Chhattisgarh.

It advocates providing more rights to panchayats, and placing tribal-dominated villages under the fifth schedule of the Constitution and granting all decision-making powers to the Gram Sabha under the Panchayat Extension in Schedule Area Law.

In the past too, districts like Bastar in Chhattisgarh have witnessed different movements like mava note, mava raj (our village, our governance) demanding autonomy.

While, the Sarva Adivasi Samaj is championing the Pathargarhi’ movement in several parts of Chhattisgarh, there is a section of tribal people who are opposed to it. As counteract measures, the Chhattisgarh government has initiated a host of development projects in the mineral-rich regions with assistance from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) which gets a share of the mineral trade profits.

Singh credited the DMF for working towards strengthening health and education facilities in tribal regions. The state government has also launched the Yashasvi Jashpur’ campaign to promote education in schools in the Jashpur district and in other parts of the state under Mission Sankalp’.

According to Jashpur District Collectorate Priyanka Shukla, the government policies have borne fruit as the class 10 results this year are quite encouraging, while several students have managed to clear the JEE Mains examination.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.