Congress wants 5th schedule provisions in WB
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 22:29
Kolkata: The Congress on Thursday demanded that provisions of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution which give certain benefits to tribals be included in the West Bengal Panchayat Act, to help solve the Maoist problem.

"We request the government to incorporate provisions of the 5th schedule in the state Panchayat Act so that the panchayats can be extended to the scheduled areas," WBPCC executive member Debaprasad Roy said on Thursday.

"This will give the tribals of junglemahal and north Bengal a right to their land and the local water and forest resources," he told a press conference in the presence of WBPCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya.

Roy said provisions of the 5th schedule give certain benefits to tribals like 100 per cent reservation for the post of 'pradhan' of the local bodies and 40 per cent tribal representation in these bodies.

Pointing out that the state government has proposed setting up of a Development Monitoring Committee from the state to block level, Bhattacharya said there was no provision to include elected representatives in it.

"Therefore, we want the government to take a re-look at the committee and reconstitute it with people's representatives," Bhattacharya said.

Accusing the erstwhile Left Front government of turning the panchayats into party units during their 34-year rule, Bhattacharya said that gram sansad meetings were not convened during the time and projects got passed in meetings which had no quorum. Accounts were also not properly maintained.

"We, therefore, appeal to the new state government to immediately convene gram sansad meetings so that projects and accounts can be discussed before approval," he said.

These matters would come up for discussion at a PPC- sponsored convention on Panchayati Raj on November 20, to be addressed among others by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and AICC spokesman Shakil Ahmed, Bhattacharya said.


First Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 22:29

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