Meghalaya tribal chiefs demand special budgetary allocation
Mairang (Meghalaya): Tribal chiefs of Meghalaya on Wednesday sought special budgetary allocation from the Centre and the state government to the 1500 plus tribal chiefs who administer 6500 villages in the state as part of their responsibilities democratically empowered by the people.
This was passed as a resolution at the special session of the "Peoples` Parliament" held here, 44 km west of the state capital, and was attended by more than 5000 representatives from far flung villages in the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hill regions.
"The government of India and the state government should allocate specific budgetary allocation to the 54 Hima/Elakas in Khasi Hills, 19 Elakas in Jaintia Hills and 1500 Nokmas in the Garo Hills region," a resolution, okayed by those who attended the parliament, said.
"The special allocation of funds would enable them (tribal chiefs) to administer the 6500 villages while discharging their executive, legislative and judicial duties apart from monitoring and implementation of the various developmental schemes of the government," J F Kharshiing, chairman Grand Council of Chiefs, said.
Among the other resolution passed by the chiefs at the special session were the demand from the Centre its fulfillment of the `national commitment` made to the tribal rulers of the state in the form of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement signed way back in 1947 as to pave way to solve the existing "constitutional anomaly".
The Centre had accepted the treaty of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement of December 15, 1947, signed by 25 independent Khasi states and which was subsequently signed and accepted by the Union government on August 17, 1948.
Through the agreement, the independent states have only "acceded" to the Dominion of India but have not signed any merger agreements, Kharshiing said.
Expressing serious concern, opposition and reservation against many Acts, Rules and Regulations, passed in the Parliament by the government, Kharshiing said registration, forest, mines and other Acts "have caused much conflict to the people in the state which are a total contradiction to the terms of the signed treaties.
"Because of the non-inclusion of this agreement by incorporating it in the Constitution, complication has arisen in various aspects in the customary laws in the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya," he said.
The tribal chiefs also reiterated their demand for provision of a special article or introduction of a 13th Schedule in accordance with the terms as agreed in the annexed agreement of the tribal chiefs and the Government of India.
Expressing optimism that the Centre would someday address the "Constitutional anomaly" that exists even after 64 years of India`s independence, Dr Balajied Sing Syiem, chief of Hima Khyrim (an independent state), said the nuances of traditional Khasi democracy should be given due cognisance and the traditional heads and grassroots organisations like the Dorbar and Rangbah Shnong should be given their due rights.
While the state is under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule, a "constitutional anomaly" has adversely affected the customary rights of land, forest, water, revenue and mineral resources of the tribals in Meghalaya as the traditional bodies function similar to those of the panchayats in other the states.
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