Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Droupadi Murmu bids adieu to Jharkhand, first Governor to complete tenure

Ranchi, July 12:Outgoing governor Droupadi Murmu departed for her native village in Rairangpur in Mayurbhaj district in Orissa on Monday morning after her successful six year stint as the first citizen of the state.

Murmu was not only the first adivasi woman to assume high office in Jharkhand in May 2015 but was also the first to finish a full term since formation of the state in 2000. Governor designate Ramesh Bais is expected to reach Ranchi on July 13 and will take oath on July 14, said Raj Bhavan sources.

Chief minister Hemant Soren, his wife Kalpana and top officials of the state administration gave her a warm send off at the airport. Murmu flew in a helicopter from Ranchi’s Birsa Munda airport in the morning. 

On Sunday night, Soren also held a farewell gathering at his residence in Murmu’s honour. The gathering, held amid the ongoing pandemic, was strictly a personal affair with only select people including senior officials of the government and a few lawmakers. 

For the last two days, a host of delegates, officials, ministers and lawmakers made beeline to Raj Bhavan to greet Murmu on her outgoing journey. 

Significantly, the outgoing Governor had on Saturday while interacting to reporters, In an apparent critique of the Hemant Soren government that recently amended rules of the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC), outgoing Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu said she has briefed Governor-designate Ramesh Bais over the issue even as she underlined that the Constitution provides special powers to the Governor on certain issues and everyone should follow and act accordingly.

Reacting to a specific question on the contentious TAC Rules, 2021 during an interaction with journalists at Raj Bhawan on Saturday, Murmu said, “I had summoned the files (related to TAC). They (Hemant Soren government) are good people, but they delayed sending the file. I was seeking legal opinion on the matter when the new orders (of appointment of a new Governor) came.”

“I have briefed the new Governor about it. Now, he would take a call on it. However, Article 244 of the Constitution gives special powers to the Governor. The Constitution is a sacred book like Gita. So everyone should follow the Constitution and act accordingly,” she added.

The Hemant Soren government recently amended the TAC (an advisory body that deliberates and helps government about issues related to tribes and their development in states that have areas classified under the fifth schedule of the Constitution), transferring the power of constituting the TAC from the office of the Governor to the chief minister, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the council.

The outgoing Governor, who is all set to relinquish office after a tenure of over six years in Raj Bhawan—the longest for any Governor in Jharkhand–on Monday also pitched for few amendments in the special pre-independence land tenancy laws in tune with the present times.

“Some of these laws are old. Some changes are required. For example, the restriction of police station (of sale purchase of tribal land) should be amended. Earlier, the size of the police stations used to be huge. Now, it is not the case. However, any amendment in such laws needs to be in consonance with their spirit,” said Murmu, the only female Governor of the state till date.

The Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act are two pre-independence tenancy laws which prevent non-tribals from buying the land of tribals. Even tribals can’t buy land owned by the same community outside the jurisdiction of the police station they belong to. These two laws, besides the land acquisition law, have often led to political controversy in Jharkhand, where tribals make over 26% of the 3.29 crore state’s population.

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