Village headmen in Meghalaya want role in municipal board
Shillong: With the Meghalaya government
planning to hold the first ever municipal elections in the
state, traditional village headmen today said their role in
the municipal boards should first be `clearly defined`.
Apprehending that their powers would be diluted once
the municipal boards were constituted through election, the
headmen also demanded amendments in the Meghalaya Municipal
"Certain sections pertaining to elections in the
Meghalaya Municipal Act should be reviewed. Also the relation
between the headmen and the municipal boards should be clearly
defined," Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong, an organization of the
headmen, told Urban Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong during a
Tynsong said the government would constitute a
committee, comprising headmen and departmental officials, to
study the demands and give suggestions.
There has been opposition from certain quarters to the
proposed municipal elections in the state.
A writ petition filed by the Jaintia Tribal Traders
Association before the Gauhati High Court challenging the
proposed conduct of elections to the Jowai Municipal Board was
dismissed on August 25, giving the government the liberty to
conduct the elections.
The Gauhati High Court has meanwhile admitted a
similar petition by the Garo Students Union which challenged
the municipal polls contending that following the 1992
amendment in the Constitution, panchayat and municipal
provisions did not extend to the tribal areas which were under
the Sixth Schedule.
Earlier, the government announced that elections to
the offices of ward commissioners of four municipal boards in
the three districts of Garo hills will be held on September
The move to hold the first civic polls in the state
has been initiated in a bid to avail the benefit of the
ambitious Jawarhalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
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 occasions 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 has been no municipal election in the state
since it attained statehood and nominated administrator of the
state government govern the municipality boards.
After the Supreme Court 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. He was shot dead by suspected
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