Chhattisgarh Cabinet approves higher reservation for SC/OBC in state public service, expansion of Lemru Elephant Reserve

Raipur: Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's cabinet has just passed an ordinance increasing reservation quotas for Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Caste in the State's public service commission to 13 percent and 27 percent respectively.

The ordinance was brought forward in the latest cabinet meeting chaired by the CM, which in addition to increasing the SC quota by one percentage point also increased the OBC quota from 14 percent to 27 percent.

Under this ordinance, in Chhattisgarh Public Service, academic institutions and other vacancies, 10 percent of all seats will be reserved for students coming from financially weaker sections of the society. State government officials said a commission will be constituted to collect population-related data, to help enact this decision.

Keeping in line with the Baghel government's agenda, the cabinet also approved a massive expansion of the Lemru Elephant Reserve, which is now expected to cover around 1995.48 sqkm of forested areas in Korba, Kathghora and Dharamjaigarh Forest Divisions, where there are around 142 villages.

Officials said that this move will not only serve as a reserve for elephants in the country and a permanent habitat for wild tuskers, but will also go a long way in minimising the number of human-elephant conflicts in the state, which have increased over the last few decades.

This expansion is expected to come as a relief for over 250 wild elephants that roam the forests of Chhattisgarh is Sarguja, Bilaspur and Raipur.

Moreover, the cabinet has also approved the government's move to collect large scale data about villages in Naxal-affected areas of Abhujmad and Bastar division. Government data shows that there 275 non-surveyed villages in Narayanpur, Bijapur and Dantewada, which are not listed in official records.

As per the cabinet's decision, the Chhattisgarh government will now conduct land and other related surveys in Abhujmad, in a bid to make sure that the 50,000 or so villagers who live on encroached land can get ownership.

Officials said the government will make khasara numbers and land maps available to beneficiaries, who can finally have their land registered for farming and other purposes with the state government. The plan is to provide ownership of over 50,000 hectares of land to local villagers.

Meanwhile, the cabinet also approved the creation of a Sports Excellence Centre, which will be regulated by the Chhattisgarh Sports Development Authority. This sports academy is expected to be funded through Corporate Social Responsibility by both Public and Private sector firms.

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