Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Three-tier panchayat raj tenure in Jharkhand to be extended till January 15


Governor nod to ordinance would make the government prepare for poll in December this year

Ranchi, July 16: The tenure of three tier panchayat raj institution will be extended by six months.

The new Governor of Jharkhand, Ramesh Bais gave nod to the ordinance mooted by state government on Thursday late evening, paving way for the extension of the panchayati raj institution tenure till January 15, 2022.

The state government will now make preparation for holding the election to the panchayati raj institutions in December 2021.

Significantly, the present term of the rural bodies expired on July 15.

The state government had sent the ordinance before July 15 but with the change of Governor the nod was delayed.

The ordinance was decided because the panchayat elections that were due in December last year could not been held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the term of the office-bearers of the rural bodies was scheduled to end by the first week of January this year, the government took a decision to set up working committees with the elected representatives as members for another six months, expecting the panchayat elections would be conducted within that time. But the polls could not be conducted as the country and the state had to grapple with the ravaging second wave of the pandemic and the situation remains far from favourable for holding elections to nearly 4,400 gram panchayats and other rural bodies at block and district levels.

The situation has put the government in a fix. While the term of the working committees constituted in January expires on July 15, the Jharkhand Panchayat Raj Act also does not have any provision for granting a second extension of their term.

State rural development minister who also holds the panchayati raj institution portfolio, Alamgir Alam confirmed the development.

“We received the nod to the ordinance from the Governor’s office on Thursday late evening. Now it will be sent to the state law department and then go for nod of chief minister. We hope to complete the formalities this month,” said Alam.

 “At this stage, passing an ordinance seems like the only alternative left,” said Ajay Kumar Singh, mukhiya of Bundu panchayat under Petarwar block of Bokaro district which has won national awards for best performing rural bodies in different categories.

“Its true that the situation is not favourable for holding panchayat polls. But the government also couldn’t keep development process in rural areas on hold indefinitely,” he said.

“Besides, the Centre would not release more funds for rural development if the previous allotment was not spent under the supervision of elected representatives and unless the utilisation reports were signed by them,” he added.

He also pointed out that the absence of panchayat bodies would mean that the government would be deprived of the contributions of a huge number of representatives at the gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad level who implement welfare schemes in rural areas.

“But an ordinance is surely not a solution and the panchayat elections have to be held whenever the situation improves,” Singh said, adding that he hoped the pandemic would end soon.

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