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I ensured OBC status to 18 communities including Bhandari and Kharvi: Khalap



PANAJI: The Constitution of India ensures the right to political reservation for the Scheduled Tribes, yet the incumbent BJP MP has not taken any initiative to take up this matter during the past 25 years, said INDIA bloc’s North Goa candidate Adv Ramakant Khalap.

Taking up the cause of the ST, SC, and OBC communities during a meeting at Marcel, Khalap questioned why MP Shripad Naik has chosen to ignore this demand of the ST community despite getting their votes.

“Naik is a senior MP from Goa. In fact, he is senior to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ST community has voted for you for the past 25 years, yet you have not spared a thought for them. Why couldn’t you pursue the matter of political reservation for the ST community?” Khalap said.

Khalap, a former MP and 6-time MLA, also said that khazan land in areas like Cumbarjua have been destroyed.

“Our lands have been sold. Our landlords also are to be blamed for this practice. I recall the tenure of our first Chief Minister Bhausaheb Bandodkar and Shashikala Kakodkar, who had introduced the Agricultural Tenancy Act for the benefit of farmers and the Land to the Tiller Act. We gave a guarantee for mundkars who could claim land rights. I ask, despite being in power for more than 12 years, why has the government not implemented this law? Why has Naik not questioned the government over this? Why has he taken the ST and OBC communities for granted? These people toil in the land,” he said.

“There are 18 communities which comprise Bhandari, Karvi, Navi, dhobi, etc that had voted for me as MP. I had given them a place in the Government of India’s list of OBCs. What scheme has the BJP unveiled for the benefit of these backward communities?” he said.

Khalap also said that taxi operators have also been at the receiving end of the government’s policies. “The taxi owners have to pay so much of fees to operate. Tourists visiting the temples, churches, beaches and other places don’t have access to necessary infrastructure like toilets, bathrooms, and changing rooms. There is no adequate water supply. Whatever washroom the Portuguese had built, nothing was done after that,” he said.

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