Chandigarh, Feb 17: Even as a meeting between Jat leaders and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar failed to break the deadlock on the reservation issue on Wednesday, the state announced doubling of the quota for the EBC category.
Khattar said the reservation quota in government jobs and admissions in educational institutions for the Economically Backward Classes (EBC) in Haryana will be increased to 20 percent from 10 percent.
The Jat leaders meanwhile refused to call off their agitation that has severely affected life in Rohtak and other districts due to blockade by agitating community members.
The chief minister also announced an increase in the annual income ceiling for availing quota from Rs.2.5 lakh to Rs.6 lakh so that maximum people could avail of benefits under this category.
The agitating Jats on Wednesday continued their road and rail blockades at various places in Haryana even as some of their leaders arrived here for parleys with the chief minister.
People in Rohtak, Sonipat, Hisar, Bhiwani and Jhajjar districts were the worst sufferers due to the blockade. It was the fourth day of their agitation in Haryana.
Paramilitary forces have been deployed in and around Rohtak and other affected districts to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand. The Haryana government on Tuesday sought additional forces from the Centre.
People in districts in neighbouring Punjab and adjoining Haryana are also facing problems due to cancellation or diversion of trains and blockade of roads.
Though the increased quota is supposed to benefit the Jat community also, some Jat leaders did not seem satisfied with the decision.
"This is not what we had come to discuss. The government has not accepted our demand for reservation," one of the Jat leaders said after the meeting with Khattar here.
However, Khattar, in a statement later, claimed "a broad consensus was reached between the government and the Jat leaders over the reservation issue".He announced that a committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to study all aspects of reservation for Special Backward Classes and to suggest the best way forward will submit its report before the coming budget session of the Haryana assembly.
Khattar said the committee will consider all suggestions, including bringing in an appropriate bill in this regard.
Meanwhile, officials said at least 25 trains were cancelled in Ambala and Ferozepur railway divisions due to the blockade at various places like Rohtak, Sampla and Jhajjar. At least 20 other trains were diverted through different routes.