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'Busy' Chavan finally gives time to Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee
Monday October 21, 2013 1:27 PM, Staff Reporter

Barely a week after had reported Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's inability to meet Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee, he finally gave time from his "busy" schedule to the committee to submit its report today evening, an official from the Chief Minister's Office said.

"Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman will be meeting the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today evevning at 04:30 p.m. to submit his report", an official said while talking to had on October 13 reported that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seemed to be too busy to spare time for Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee to formally accept its report.

"Mrs. Thekkekara, principal secretary, Minority Development Department Maharashtra, is trying hard since last over four months to get an appointment from Chief Minister Chavan so that Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee can submit its report. But, her requests were dumped every time for some another day", had reported quoting a highly placed source.

The seven-member committee, headed by retired IAS officer Dr Mehmood-ur-Rehman, and comprising of other retired IAS, IPS officers and professors from few reputed institutes such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) as members, was appointed in 2008 by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to examine the socio-economic and educational status of the Muslim community in Maharashtra, and the issues the community is facing in the state. The committee was also asked to submit its recommendations as remedial measures.

It is also learnt that the committee was almost defunct for 3-4 years of its appointment. It was complained that the needed supports and logistics were not provided to the committee. It however began its work about a year-and-half ago, and finally completed five years after it was appointment a 312+ pages report sometimes in June, 2013.

Interestingly, the chief minister himself had promised while meeting a delegation of Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) on May 27 that the report will be released in a month's time and its recommendations will be looked into. Later, Maharashtra minority minister Naseem Khan also claimed the same.

Muslims comprise about 20% of the total Maharashtra population. However, their representation in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission, civil and police services is limited to less than 2%. They are also lagging in other sectors, and at places like Bhiwandi and Malegaon, where a large number of Muslims are associated with textile industry, they are struggling for their survival.

The appointment of Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee had revived hope that the state government will come out with a concrete plan for the empowerment of the beleaguered community. However, with the delay in its release, it is now feared that the government will ignore the findings of the report terming the meticulously collected records and data included in it as old and out-of-date.

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