Meg govt opposes abolition of District Councils

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Shillong, Apr 23 (UNI) The Meghalaya government has opposed Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily's recommendation to abolish all the three existing autonomous district councils in the state.

'' We are against the idea of dissolution of the District Councils, whatever their drawbacks may be. The District Councils in Meghalaya plays an important role in safeguarding the traditional laws of the indigenous people of the state,'' District Council Affairs Minister, Paul Lyngdoh told UNI here today.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), headed by Mr Moily, recommended the abolition of all the district councils of Meghalaya on the grounds that the state is a tribal majority and they themselves now head the government.

''The Centre cannot do away with the wishful thinking of person (Moily), as the sixth schedule itself was the creation of the constituent assembly,'' Mr Lyngdoh said.

The Sixth Schedule was legislated mainly to safeguard tribal customary laws and practices and to look after tribal interests at a time when most of the North Eastern states which are predominantly tribal in character were part of the larger state of Assam.

In his report, Mr Moily said there is an increasing clash of interests between the state government and the sixth schedule on which the councils rest.'' The sixth schedule councils have been given more powers than the local governance bodies, in the rest of the country. While many areas under the schedule have seen turmoil and violence, it is generally agreed that the autonomy paradigm prescribed under it has brought a degree of equilibrium within tribal societies, particularly through formal dispute resolution under customary laws and through control of money-lending etc, the commission report said.

The Commission also recommended that the Union Government, Meghalaya government and the Autonomous Councils to review the existing pattern of relationship between the Councils and the State Government. ''They should evolve a satisfactory mechanism to resolve conflicts between the Councils and the State Government,'' Mr Moily stated.

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