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Meghalaya mulls holding first ever municipal polls

Last Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 13:02

Shillong: Meghalaya government has decided to solicit public opinion on a bill that envisages reforms on the municipal act, paving the way for holding of first ever civic polls in the state since it attained statehood.

The Meghalaya Community Participation Bill will be posted on the website for eliciting public opinion and the process is likely to be over by September, official sources

The move has been initiated in a bid to avail the benefit of the ambitious Jawarhalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“We want to ensure that once the municipal boards are constituted, there will be maximum participation and space for traditional bodies within the municipal area. The ward committees will be constituted with the involvement of the respective traditional bodies like durbars,” Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said after a cabinet meeting last night.

In ward committees, there will be ten nominated members, which will include five from the traditional bodies, five, including three women, picked from prominent persons,
according to the Bill.

In the elections to the ward commissioners, 80 per cent of the seats will be reserved for ST, while 33 per cent of the seats will be reserved for women.

“The idea is to ensure that the traditional bodies help in preparation of action plans for their areas, execute and supervise them,” Sangma said.

Seeking suggestions from the public, Sangma said the government wants to ensure that the Bill is in conformity with the aspirations of the people.

The proposed elections will be held in all the notified municipal areas in the state.
Since the Supreme Court Notification in 2000, there have been at least two attempts to hold the civic body election in the State but on both the government could not go
ahead due to opposition from certain quarters on the ground that such an attempt will dilute the credibility of the traditional institutions in the State.

There had been no Municipality election in the State since it attained statehood and nominated administrator of the State Government governs the Municipality Boards.
After the Supreme Court had directed the state government to hold the municipal elections following a petition filed by the Non Tribal Youth Union, the government in November 2000 issued notifications for holding elections. Only one person, a Shillong-based businessman, Ananta Dey, filed nominations. However, he was shot dead by suspected militants.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 13:02

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