PTI / Sunday, August 29, 2010: Nearly 1.4 crore backward Muslims in West Bengal would be issued OBC certificates under the reservation policy for poor people of the community after the state cabinet approves the decision on September 22.
The policy decision has been taken and it awaits approval of the cabinet on September 22, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said while inaugurating a Haj House-cum-Empowerment Centre at Kaikhali near Kolkata airport.
"If SC and ST population can come under reservation, why not the minorities like Muslims?" he said adding that the state government was encouraged by recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission in this regard.
The Rs 10-crore Haj House is the second of its kind in the state after the one situated near Park Circus in the city, which made West Bengal the only state to have two Haj Houses for the benefit of Haj pilgrims, he said.
Bhattacharjee said there was need for such a facility to cater to the growing number of Haj pilgrims in the state. While 1,410 pilgrims went to Haj in 1985, the number rose to 10,272 in 2010.
Built by the state government's PWD department, the G-plus-seven-storeyed building can accommodate pilgrims for three months during the pilgrimage to Mecca.
During the remaining nine months, minority beneficiaries would be given vocational training there by the Aliah University, he said.
Bhattacharjee said "minorities were not living in anybody's mercy" and the government had given approval for starting 12 English medium madrasas in the state.
In addition to 600 madrasas in the state, steps have been taken to prepare a list of 300 more of the institutions to impart education not only in religion, but also in subjects like science, mathematics and computers to make the minority community students more competitive.
Minister of state for minorities development and madrasa education Abdus Sattar said unemployed Muslims would be imparted vocational training in 37 trades in the Haj building for nine months by the Aliah University.