SHILLONG, Dec 06: The ‘My village my development plan’ programme of the Central Government is a covert way of introducing the Panchayati raj system in Meghalaya, as opined by the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Hispreaching Son Shylla.
With the recent direction of the community and rural development (C&RD) blocks to form the Gram Sabha committees to avail of the above scheme, several traditional durbars had sought clarification on the matter, prompting Shylla to make this allegation.
With information being provided that the cheme is being implemented directly by the Centre’s Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Shylla said, “This is nothing but an attempt to indirectly introduce the Panchayati Raj system in our tribal villages.”
Though the Council is yet to receive any official communication from the state government in this regard, Shylla said that he came to know about the scheme from the traditional heads in his Nongkrem constituency.
Expressing the Council’s strong opposition against any such move by the Centre, Shylla said, “It seems that the Centre wants to win the people over by pumping funds through such schemes.”
He however warned if such schemes are allowed to be implemented in the state the powers of the traditional institutions will be diluted.
“While the Council had recently amended its AD Rules to ensure only tribals can have voting rights in its elections, this scheme however states that any adult persons can be part of the Gram Sabha,” he said while appealing to the dorbar shnongs to be vigilant on the issue.
Shylla also informed that an emergent meeting of the executive committee will be convened on Monday to decide on what the Council will do to address this issue.
“We will immediately sit and if required may even convene a special session to discuss this issue,” he said.
Earlier while expressing concern on the matter, KHADC executive member in-charge Land, Mines & Minerals Latiplang Kharkongor said that the scheme was introduced even though Meghalaya has been exempted from the Panchayati Raj system.
He also said that this move only seeks to dilute the traditional institutions covered under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
“What is more worrying is that the status of the Sarpan (head) of the Gram Sabha is equal to that of a Rangbah Shnong besides elections of the Gram Sabha will also be held and this will later open up an opportunity for people from other tribes to demand for their rights to be part of the committee,” he said.
Kharkongor, who is also an MDC from Nongthymmai constituency, further questioned the Ministry of Panchayati Raj while accusing it of ‘intruding’ into the Sixth Schedule areas. “We feel the ministry should only concentrate on states having the Panchayati Raj system,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kharkongor also appealed to all the dorbar shnongs under the jurisdiction of the Council to refrain from welcoming such schemes which threaten the existence of traditional institutions in their respective areas.