Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today told the state legislative council that the issue of Maratha reservation has been referred to the Backward Classes Commission (BCC), which shall study the feasibility of granting the quota to the community.
Fadnavis, while speaking in the upper house of the Maharashtra legislature, also said the government has submitted a detailed affidavit with concrete supporting documents and fielded a battery of best lawyers to argue the case on the Maratha quota issue pending before the court.
"The demand of the Maratha community for reservation has been referred to the Backward Classes Commission (BCC) which shall study the feasibility of granting the quota to the community. It has been asked to expedite the matter at the earliest," he said.
The CM made the announcement on the day lakhs of Maratha community members took out a silent march from Jijamata Udyan in Byculla to Azad Maidan in South Mumbai here to press for reservation in government jobs and education, among other demands.
"The government has submitted its detailed affidavit with concrete supporting documents and fielded a battery of best lawyers to argue the case," he said on the issue of the quota case pending before the court of law.
Talking about the Kopardi case, in which a 14-year-old girl from the Maratha community was raped and murdered at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district in July last year, Fadnavis said special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had wrapped up the examination of witnesses and cross-examination of accused five months ago.
"However, the lawyers of the accused resorted to delaying tactics, for which the court slapped fines on them. The next hearing of the case is scheduled on August 17," he said.
The chief minister further announced that the scholarship applicable to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) under the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Yojana, for all the 605 academic courses shall be extended to the students of the Maratha community as well.
Besides that, the 60 per cent cut-off has been waived and it has been brought down to 50 per cent as applicable to the OBC students, he announced.
"The government will allocate land and give Rs 5 crore grant for setting up hostels for the students of Maratha community in all the districts of the state," Fadnavis said.
He said that Sarthi Institute set up for the betterment of the community has already been allocated office space in Pune.
"The government shall amend the rules to make the caste validity applicable for blood relations in the community," he said.
"The government has allocated funds to Annasaheb Patil Arthik Vikas Mahamandal, wherein three lakh children of farmers from the community shall be imparted skill development training. Besides this, the Mahamandal shall disburse loans up to Rs 10 lakh to unemployed Maratha youths to start their own business," he said.
Fadnavis said that the government shall soon constitute a cabinet sub-committee to interact with the forum set up by the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) every three months to review the progress of the implementation of the decisions made.
Senior Congress MLC and former minister Narayan Rane said the government should ensure that the implementation of the assurances would be done in a time-bound manner.
NCP leader Sunil Tatkare said the opposition was not satisfied with the reply of the chief minister.
Leader of Opposition in legislative council, Dhananjay Munde, contended that the government had not acted on a similar memorandum submitted by the MKM during the winter session of the state legislature in December 2016.
Accusing the government of ignoring the demands of the community, Munde led the entire opposition in staging a walkout from the house.
Defending the state, leader of the upper house and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said the government has already met the demand for the OBC scholarship to the Maratha community students and that the government has submitted a 2,700-page affidavit in the court to argue its case for the reservation quota.
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