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Traditional institutions to get direct funding: CM

Govt recommends elected Dorbars in K-J Hills & village councils in GH

Shillong, Aug 26: The traditional institutions will avail direct funding from the Centre to execute projects for development.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma held a meeting with the CEMs of three autonomous district councils on Thursday to discuss amendment of sixth schedule to the constitution.

The state government, while rejecting the Panchayati Raj system, wanted to avail funds from the finance commission.

The chief minister said to avail the funds, the Dorbars in Khasi-Jaintia Hills will be empowered through elections and they will be provided with financial powers.

The chief minister said in Garo Hills, village councils will be elected and this will take care of the development works while Nokmas will be the custodians of land rights, customary and traditional practices.

The state government has rejected the introduction of Panchayati Raj like system in Meghalaya as recommended by the parliamentary standing committee on amendment of sixth schedule to the constitution, considering the existence of traditional institutions.

“The village councils were proposed for Garo Hills to avail finance commission funds meant for development,” the chief minister said.

“This  recommendation will be given but the provisions of land, laws of the land and land holdings and reforms, will remain with the district council and the Nokmas and will not be part of the village council,” he said.

Conrad said in Khasi and Jaintia Hills region, recommendation was given that the village Dorbars should continue and that there should not be any village council.

“In the village Dorbars, elections will be held and different procedures in which elections should be held will be defined as per para 2 (a) of the amended act – those provisions are already there in it and in that provision, the district councils will have sufficient powers to work out the procedures in which those elections will be held,” he said.

Another recommendation of the government is that the Municipal councils need not be included in the amended bill.

“We will recommend that it should not be mentioned in the amended bill of the sixth schedule but as per discussions with respective district councils, subjects and certain areas of governance even within municipal boards can be worked. For example in GHADC, there has been a suggestion and there has been a discussion that certain aspects of the municipal council should also be worked out with the town committees and those aspects will be looked into to find out the balance between the councils and the town committees and the municipal board but the municipal council should not be included in the amended version of the sixth schedule,” he said.

According to the chief minister, the overall plan is to ensure that there is a balance between development and the aspect of traditional customs and practices of the people. The Centre will amend the constitution and give financial powers or financial support to the district councils but for this, certain democratic processes should also be followed, he said.

“We want the amendment to go through as it will strengthen the councils and will allow anti-defection law to come in, will allow funding to come in which will be financially beneficial for the district councils,” he said.

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