AGARTALA: The BJP-led Tripura government has submitted, to the Union Home Ministry, an Rs 8,802 crore project for the social, economic, cultural, linguistic and other development of indigenous tribals, who comprise a third of the state's four million population, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said on Sunday.
In his address in tribal 'Kokborok' language at the 42nd Kokborok Day celebrations, Deb said that his government is committed to the all-round development of the indigenous tribals.
"We also initiated moves to further empower the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) and have already taken steps to increase the number of seats from 30 to 50 and to allocate 42 departments to the control of the autonomous bodies," he said.
As promised a year back, Deb, a Bengali-speaker, spoke in Kokborok, becoming the first of Tripura's 10 Chief Ministers to give a speech at an official function in the tribal language despite his mother tongue is Bengali.
"People can learn any language if they accept it by heart... one just needs to develop such mentality," said Deb, who on Friday also delivered his speech in the state assembly in Kokborok.
The tribal language, spoken by around 70 percent of Tripura's 1.2 million tribals, was made the second official language in 1978 by the then Left Front government headed by then Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty.
On Sunday, Deb also announced a cabinet decision of renaming the Barmura hill, one of the biggest hill ranges of Tripura as "Hathai Kotor", or "big hill" in the tribal language.
He said that the Kokborok subject was earlier taught in 166 various categories of government schools and now these increased to 280 and added that the state government had declared twelve tribal-dominated backward blocks as "aspirational blocks".
On the occasion of the 42nd Kokborok Day celebrations, colorful processions, discussions, and seminars were held across the State.
The Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries also took part in these colorful rallies showcasing the rich heritage and culture of the indigenous people. (IANS)