New Delhi: The Union Government has confirmed receiving a proposal for extension of Scheduled Tribes areas in Himachal Pradesh.

Union Minister of state for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat informed Shimla Member Parliament Virender Kashyap that Union Tribal affairs Ministry has received proposals for declaration and extension of Scheduled Areas, from the States of Himachal Pradesh.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh has sent a proposal for notifying entire Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district, Dodra-Kwar Sub-Division of Shimla district, and certain areas of Shimla and Kullu districts as Scheduled Areas in Himachal Pradesh for inclusion in Scheduled Tribe areas.

Union Minister of state for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat told Shimla Member Parliament that Bhot, Bodh, Gaddi, Gujjar, Jad, Lamba, Khampa, Kanaura, Kinnara, Lahaula, Pangwala, Swangla, Beta, Beda castes in Himachal Pradesh has been declared as Scheduled Tribes in Himachal Pradesh.

Nearly 50 percent of the population in Sirmour district comprises the dominant “Haati” community, living in difficult conditions across the Giri River. The Haati community were demanding declaration of entire Trans – Giri area of Sirmour District as Tribal Area on the pattern of Jaunsar –Bawar area of adjoining Uttrakhand state due to similarity in topography, geography, social, cultural and other similarly in customs, traditions and life style of local populations with their neighbor in Uttrakhand state. The entire Trans Giri area still practices ancient traditions and culture that are different from rest of country. However, their request went unheard for several decades.

The state of Himachal Pradesh had various times in the past approached Union Government for including Trans-Giri and Dodra Kwar regions under scheduled tribe area, but all its demands were unheard by the Union Government.

Residents of both region were demanding the Scheduled Tribe status from past five decades. A delegation of residents of extremely backward trans-Giri villages in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh even met the Prime Minister earlier last year and reportedly convinced him for allotting them the ST status.