Panchayat leaders resent govt’s failure to devolve power to PRI

ITANAGAR, 20 Sep: The Panchayat leaders of Papum Pare district have expressed deep resentment over the failure of the state government to devolve power to the Panchayat Raj Institution.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Panchayat leaders, cutting across party lines, urged the state government to immediately transfer power to the PRI.

Leading the charge, Papum Pare ZPC Chukhu Bablu said that the state government should immediately clarify whether they want to devolve power to the Panchayat or not.

“Even if they don’t want to devolve power, they should let us know. But don’t keep us hanging. We are also elected leaders and are answerable to the people. But the present situation is making us confused.

 Conducting Panchayat elections using crores of money is waste if power is not devolved,” said ZPC Bablu.

He said that in 2014, a gazette notification was issued granting power to the Panchayat bodies.

“But this notification is not honored in the district. The deputy commissioners refuse to implement it saying there is no direction from the government. Panchayat leaders are feeling unhappy and hapless. It’s been seven months since we got elected, but till now, we are not part of the governance,” alleged the ZPC.

He also claimed that in March this year a five-member committee headed by the chief secretary was formed for power devolution. “It was supposed to submit a report in three months and the deadline passed in June. But nothing has happened till now,” he added.

The ZPC further said that Panchayat bodies are waiting for Chief Minister Pema Khandu to fulfill his promise of devolving power. “The CM on several occasions assured to transfer power to the elected local bodies. We have huge expectations from the CM as he has taken some bold decisions since assuming charge of the state. The charter of duties and powers should be properly defined for the PRIs,” he added.

Sangdupota ZPM Hina Camdir Tok said all Panchayat leaders, including those from the ruling BJP and opposition parties are working together, seeking early transfer of power.

“At the rural level,  the Panchayat is the main branch to implement government programmes and policies.  We are facing a lot of trouble in implementing our ideas at the grass root level due to lack of power. The Panchayat should be empowered in the best interest of the state,” said the ZPM and urged the CM to take historic steps to transfer power to the Panchayat.

ZPM Nabam Yakum claimed that the situation was much better for Panchayat bodies during the Congress era. “During the Congress era at least, the role was defined. But now there is no clarity and a lot of confusion,” she claimed.